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Date Rape Drugs

Commonly referred to as date rape drugs, Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, and other substances that can affect judgment and behavior, including alcohol, are used to reduce or eliminate a person’s defenses against sexual assault. Some of these drugs have no taste, odor, or color and can be slipped into drinks and food without your knowledge, leaving you with little or no memory of what happened.

What are the effects of these drugs?

These drugs can affect you within minutes. The impact of the drug depends on how much is taken and if the drug is combined with any other substance, like alcohol. These drugs are dangerous, powerful, and can even kill.

Rohypnol (Roofies, forget pill, mind erasers)

  • An illegal, extremely powerful sleeping pill. Small, round, white pills, although newer ones can also be oval and green-gray in color. Can be ground up into powder. Dissolves in liquids.
  • Generally, no smell, taste, or color. Some, but not all, forms of Rohypnol can make clear liquids turn blue or make dark liquids cloudy, although this can be hard to see in a dark room.
  • Takes effect within 30 minutes and can last for several hours. Can cause someone to look and act like they are drunk (have trouble standing and slurred speech, or pass out).
  • Similar drugs, such as clonazepam (marketed as Klonopin in the United States), alprazolam (marketed as Xanax), and etizolam (not approved for medical use in the United States), are also used as date rape drugs.

Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (G, GHB, Liquid Ecstasy)

  • Central nervous system depressant. Can be a liquid with no smell or color, white powder, or a pill. May have a slightly salty taste, but it may be masked in sweet drinks.
  • Takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last for 3 or 4 hours. A very small amount can have a big effect, and it is easy to overdose. Can cause someone to become very drowsy, confused, and have memory problems.

Ketamine (K, Special K, Vitamin K, Breakfast Cereal, Super K)

  • Veterinary sedative
  • Comes in a clear liquid and white powder form, both which mix easily with drinks and have a bitter taste.
  • Ketamine is quick acting, usually felt within 1 to 30 minutes and can last for an hour. Can cause a drugged person to be awake but unable to move, or to feel removed from or out of control of their body. Can also unconsciousness and memory problems.

Ecstasy (E, X, MDMA)

  • An illegal synthetic drug with both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects
  • Commonly found in tablets in many shapes and colors, in capsules, or crushed/powdered forms.
  • Can cause teeth clenching, blurred vision, hallucinations, and tremors. Can lower a person’s ability to give reasoned consent, and make them less able to sense danger or resist an assault.

Are there any warning signs?

  • You may start to feel "woozy" and feel as if you are more intoxicated than you would normally feel after drinking the same amount.
  • You may recall having a drink but don’t remember anything afterward.
  • You may feel fuzzy and experience a lapse in memory.
  • You may experience nausea, dizziness, and black-outs.
  • You may feel as though you had sex but you can't recall the details.

What should I do if I think I have been drugged and sexually assaulted?

  • Get to a safe place and ask a friend to help you.
  • Get immediate medical help. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance if necessary.
  • You can call the SATC hotline at 524-7273 for help.
  • You can call 911 to report the sexual assault.

Why is alcohol considered a rape drug?

Alcohol can affect judgment and behavior and is the drug most commonly involved in sexual assault.  

Studies have shown that alcohol use by the victim, perpetrator, or both is a feature of approximately half of all sexual assaults, and of most cases where another drug was used.

Alcohol can make it harder to think clearly, set limits, make good choices, tell when a situation is dangerous, say “no,” or fight back.  Alcohol can also cause a person to experience memory loss or black out.

How can I reduce the risk of rape drugs?

  • Do not leave beverages where you cannot see them.
  • Do not take any beverage, including alcohol, from someone you do not trust.
  • At a bar or club, accept drinks only from the bartender or server.
  • At parties, do not accept open-container drinks from anyone.
  • Be alert to the behavior of friends and ask them to watch out for you. Anyone appearing to be extremely intoxicated after consuming only a small amount of alcohol may be in danger.
  • Share this information with friends and talk about ways to look out for each other at parties and social events.
  • If you suspect someone has consumed a date rape drug or sedative-like substance, take them to a hospital emergency room or call 911 for an ambulance. Get a urine sample as soon as possible.