Drugs & Health Blog

What Are Date Rape Drugs and How Do You Avoid Them?

The NIDA Blog Team

You may have been warned that sometimes people secretly slip drugs into other people’s drinks to take advantage of them sexually. These drugs are called “date rape drugs.”

Date rape, also known as “drug-facilitated sexual assault,” is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It may come from someone you know, someone may have just met, and/or someone thought you could trust.

Date rape drugs can make people become physically weak or pass out. This is why people who want to rape someone use them—because they leave individuals unable to protect themselves.

Many of these drugs have no color, smell, or taste, and people often do not know that they’ve taken anything. Many times people who have been drugged (usually girls or women, but not always) are unable to remember what happened to them.

The dangerous three

The three most common date rape drugs are Rohypnol® (flunitrazepam), GHB (gamma hydroxybutryic acid), and ketamine.

  • Rohypnol (also known as roofies, forget-me-pill, and R-2) is a type of prescription pill known as a benzodiazepine—it’s chemically similar to drugs such as Valium or Xanax, but unlike these drugs, it is not approved for medical use in this country.
    • It has no taste or smell and is sometimes colorless when dissolved in a drink.
    • People who take it can feel very sleepy and confused and forget what happens after its effects kick in.
    • It can also cause weakness and trouble breathing, and can make it difficult for those who have taken it to move their body.
    • The effects of Rohypnol can be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours.
    • To prevent misuse of Rohypnol, the manufacturer recently changed the pill to look like an oblong olive green tablet with a speckled blue core. When dissolved in light-colored drinks, the new pills dye the liquid blue and alert people that their drink has been tampered with. Unfortunately, generic versions of Rohypnol may not contain the blue dye.
  • GHB (also known as cherry meth, scoop, and goop) is a type of drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant and is prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy (a sleep disorder).
    • It can cause a person to throw up; it can also slow their heart rate and make it hard to breathe.
    • At high doses, it can result in a coma or death.  
    • It's a tasteless, odorless drug that can be a powder or liquid. It’s colorless when dissolved in a drink.
    • Mixing it with alcohol makes these effects worse.
    • GHB can take effect in 15 to 30 minutes, and the effects may last for 3 to 6 hours.
  • Ketamine (also known as cat valium, k-hole, and purple) is a dissociative anesthetic. That means it distorts perceptions of sight and sound, and makes a person feel detached from their environment and themselves. It also reduces pain and overall feeling. Like other anesthetic drugs, it's used during surgical procedures in both humans and animals.
    • It's a tasteless, odorless drug that can be a powder or liquid.
    • It can cause hallucinations and make people feel totally out of it.
    • It can also increase heartbeat, raise blood pressure, and cause nausea.
    • The effects of ketamine may last for 30 to 60 minutes.

All drugs lower your defenses

It’s important to remember that all drugs affect how well your mind and body operate. In fact, alcohol is linked to far more date rapes than the drugs we’ve mentioned here. And nearly all drugs of abuse make people vulnerable to being taken advantage of—by impairing their judgment, reducing their reaction time, and clouding their thinking.

And as disgusting as it is to think about, when you don’t have your wits about you, someone may take that as an opportunity to push themselves on you.   

How can you avoid date rape drugs?

If you're at a party where people are drinking alcohol, you should be aware that there could be predators hoping to make you drunk or vulnerable. No matter what you're drinking, even if it’s soda or juice, people can slip drugs in your drinks—so pour all drinks yourself and never leave them unattended (even if you have to take them into the bathroom with you).

Also, be sure to stick with your friends. There’s safety in numbers.

But even if you leave your drink or leave your friends behind, know this for certain: if you are drugged and taken advantage of, it’s not your fault. 

Bottom line: People who date rape other people are committing a crime.    

Check out the new “It’s On Us” campaign, sponsored by the White House. It encourages all of us—men and women—to create an environment where women are safe. “It’s On Us” asks each one of us to be more than a bystander, stop a sexual assault any way we can, and never blame the victim. 

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, visit the Office on Women’s Health to find help in your state.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.

Comments

This article is so important to me, because it sheds light on how some people in this world act towards other human beings. It is good that I read this because I am going off to college in the next two years, and of course one of the main aspects of college is the partying. This makes me nervous to go to the parties that I hear about so much. I think it is good though that their is the blue dye which can tell a girl if her drink has been roofied. With that I can at least feel better about going to the parties. From reading this article, I now know some very good and important safety tips for the new world I will be entering.
that the saddest thing that happen to a women
that is sad
do you guys know why its was created

Hi Keri, the drugs mentioned in the blog post were all developed to treat certain medical conditions. The side effects can make people feel sleepy and weak, however, so it's really dangerous for people to be given these drugs without their knowledge.

HI KERI youre so awesome and i love you and also i love you too not keri
why was it
What will Happen if you sell the drug ? And Who abuses the drug most Men or Women

Selling illicit drugs is illegal. It is difficult to measure the use of illegal drugs, but some reports suggest men use them to incapacitate women, which is a crime. In public settings, both men and women should not leave their drinks unattended.

Is it true that ketamine is also used as a horse tranquilizer?

Hi Johnny!  Yes, it's true—ketamine is used as a anestetic for animals.  An anestetic is a drug that makes animals (and people) unconscious and unable to feel pain.  For example, you would use an anestetic during surgery.

yes it is true.
Do people use this drug for recreational use? If so, can it trigger addiction to these substances?

Hi Shelby!  Yes, unfortunately, people use date rape drugs recreationally.  And yes, users can become addicted.  

o.o you are so helpful NIDAMinds :D reading all these comment and the article help me never want to go to parties... :3
IT IS SICKING PEOPLE DO THISS STUFF IM DOING A WORK SHEET FOR CLASS. MAN THE WORLD IS MESSED UP!
it is Sickening people would do this what is wrong with people??
Woah, do you see that? Its my faith in humanity burning to the ground. Another tip for parties- if its a big house, don't wander off on your own. If you have a guy friend, stick with him to deter the predators.
Why would people do this... One way to get around is not to go to suspicious parties and dates...
I wonder what the original purpose of these drugs being created. If this was the original purpose why was it not made illegal?
that's a really good question, yeah why did they make it if the original purpose was that

As for the “date rape” drugs—they have legitimate uses and were designed for those medical purposes.  We call them “date rape” for how they are being used but not for how they were intended or developed. It’s probably better to call them ‘drugs that people use to rape other people’—but that’s a lot more wordy.

they are used in anesthetics and other pain killers
It is quite sad that people would do this. People are using drugs to abuse other people :(
The idea of someone wanting to drug someone and then take advantage of them is disgusting. You can't just force yourself on someone just because they won't let you when they are conscious.
I don't understand why people would do this to others! It's terrible and I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone.
Nice Article, thanks for the pictures?
always know what your drinking before
Why would someone do this? That's just sad... Why did they make these in the first place?
Well, I don't know about all of them but I do know Rohypnol is used as a sedative for surgeries in Europe and Latin America. Rohypnol is also used for people with extreme cases of insomnia. Can you tell I've had to do a school project on it?XD
That is disgusting. I hope whoever does this will soon get his karma. It is very sad and horrible to do this.
always know what you drinking before
so i was just told me that there's a nail polish that can identify if ur drinks been spiced, i guess you can stick your finger in your drink and if the nail polish changes color a drug has been added.

Hi hzlln.  We’ve read about this nail polish as well—called Undercover Colors.  But it’s not clear its available for purchase.  Also, there is a lot of controversy surrounding this product, since many feel that by putting the burden on women to protect ourselves and not on men to not drug and rape us, this product inadvertently supports victim blaming.  But the same could be said for our ‘tips’ on how to protect yourself.  I think we can all agree that no one should rape another person, whether by use of drugs, force or fear and that as long as there are people that will commit this crime there is room for different ways for people to protect themselves from it.  

Why would people do this I don't understand.... Why did they make these drugs in the first place?
I've only ever seen things like that happen in movies but my sister is at college right now and she said that she has heard of some things like this happening at her school and that makes it so much scarier and real.
Good thing i read this blog! It is very sad people would do that!
Why are people doing this? It's such a wrong thing to do, and it's just wrong for a person to manipulate another person for their own needs.
Has anyone ever died from an overdose on a drug they never knew they were taking like GHB?

Hi Khaled, we can't say for sure, but it is certainly possible.  These are dangerous drugs, which can become even more harmful when mixed with alcohol.  

Why would people do this?? They abuse someone and that person doesn't even know it.
they want to
Why do people do this?? They abuse someone when they don't even know it.
I thought that it was interesting that the manufacturers of Rohypnol changed the pill so that a tampered drink could be identified. But it says that it only works with light colored drinks. How would people with darker colored drinks know that their drink has been drugged?

It’s very hard to know if your drink has been drugged.  This is why we suggest pouring your own drinks and never leaving them unattended.  

This stuff is very dangerous, why do people do this kind of stuff?
This is really interesting. This is interesting because I have heard of this but never really know what it can really do and what the name of it is. I have only heard of this in movies so I wasn't sure if it was true but now I know that it can happen to people, especially girls. It is sad and mean of people who would take advantages of these people. I have learned more about this kind of drug. I have learned that this type of drug is colorless, has no smell, and no taste. People can protect themselves by no leaving drinks unattended. It is also safer to be with a group of friends.
It's really disgusting how people can even think about using drugs to harm others in a sexual way. It's so important for one to not let their drink out of sight from now on when they're at a party.
Hey everyone, If you feel the same way as I do and want to take a stand against drug abuse, check out the Straight Edge Facebook page. It's a non-profit run by high schoolers with the goal of eliminating drugs from the american high school experience. Check it out! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Straight-Edge/7217597979...
#Delete this post.

Pages

Add new comment