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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.

How risky is it to combine drugs? Take our quiz to find out.

Categories: 
Other Drugs
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

#Delete this post.
bruh
This article is really insightful and it has helped me realize that you can never be too careful. I remember reading about an invention made by some university students to warn girls about the presence of drugs in their drinks. it was a special kind of nail polish that changed colour in the presence of drugs. all the girl needed to do was stick her nail in the drink. I thought this was quite spectacular and I hope it will be made a mandatory feature in all nail polish.
Has anyone ever heard or seen a bandade that once put on it makes you hallucinate to the extreme ?
This is so sad that people have to drug others in order to have sex with theme.People Should be more aware when it comes to this.This Makes me think how easy it is to drug someone.I hope people who do this get caught and punished for it.This Is Totally Should be a eye opener to some people
This is a very serious drug and not to be taken lightly. I almost lost my son a few weeks ago. My son was at a house party and having a few drinks. He was thirsty and picked up a water bottle from the fridge that was laced with the above. He went into a coma after falling down stairs and hitting his head. Fortunately, he made it through and woke up from the coma on his own and Thank God no head injury. I was told that it is quite funny that people do this at parties. This drug is very potent and can kill if not seriously injure. Please make your loved ones aware and educate!
My friend's son just took it on his own…and died. Why does one do that?
oh dang
Oh dang
Hi, I was drugged recently by a person/animal whom I just knew and who has offered me a cup of coffee - I got up hours later and to my horror found that all my cash and credit cards stolen. The bank said my pin no. was used to draw money from one account. I was told that I could have given my pin no, to the assailant when asked under the influence of the drug. Could someone please tell me if this is true?

This sounds like a horrible situation. These kinds of drugs can quickly leave your body and it is often difficult to prove you were drugged if you wait too long to be tested for it. It is important to never leave a drink or food unattended with someone you do not know, in any kind of social setting. Some drugs, like Rohypnol, can be used to sedate and incapacitate people, and it is possible you may have given your attacker information but just don’t remember. What you describe is illegal and you should consider contacting the authorities.

whey do people do this it is so stupide
Hi NIDA Team, Could you plz answer this ? I recently read some where and it says if a woman consumes any of these drugs (Rohypnol/GHB/Ketamine), she will never be able to conceive or being pregnant. Is this true ? What are the other harmful effects of these drugs on health.

We are not aware of any of these drugs affecting a woman’s ability to get pregnant. You can learn more about the short- and long-term health effects at https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts.

does this drug work on just anybody?

The effects of these drugs vary depending on things like how much is given, the person’s weight, whether the person is drinking alcohol, etc.

My daughter was actually performing sexual acts but can't remember doing it is that possible and why would you interact in the sexual part

Hi there, we are so sorry to hear that this happened to your daughter. The drugs we refer to in the blog are often used intentionally (e.g. putting in a person’s drink, etc.) to get someone to perform sexual acts because the person taking the drug won’t remember anything. It is likely she was forced to perform the acts or persuaded while she was incapacitated. The effects of these or other drugs (or combinations of drugs) vary, but they can cause a person to become weak, confused, incapacitated, or unconscious. Some drugs may cause a person to feel more affectionate toward others or to do things they would not normally do. Many drugs used to assault people also cause memory loss, so yes, it is possible for a person to be assaulted and perform sex acts and have no memory of it.

Regardless of the drugs used, someone who is drugged or incapacitated while intoxicated cannot give consent. Without consent, any sexual activity is sexual assault and can be reported to law enforcement.

The Office on Women’s Health has more information about date rape drugs and sexual assault at these links:
https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/date-rape-drugs
https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/sexual-assault-and...

oh my gosh people do this to us because they want to do what they want to our bodies without our permission because they think if they drug us we wont think much about it. I have had that happen to me and it sucks.
Please understand this happens everyone just not girls only.
It happened to me. Out on a professional cocktail discussion, went to the bathroom, and felt sick. My car was at his house; this was planned. I asked to lie down, and while I was passed out, he raped me. I only remember coming out of it when he was repeatedly telling me he loved me, and he knew I loved him, too. One glass of wine caused one big mess. He worked on a Board of Directors I worked with. I could hardly point it out. I felt I would be to blame, and I didn't want my business friends to know. I thought it was my fault. I then discovered he was stalking me. Be careful!

We are so sorry to hear about your horrible experience, and hope you are getting some counseling as well as legal and medical advice. Good advice for everyone: it takes time to know who you can trust; always have a plan in place for a safe way home and never leave your drink unattended.

It happened to me 10 years ago in a bar by someone I knew. He kept buying me drinks and I got so wiped out which I never do. When I woke up he was on top of me and I just went with the flow at the time. I didn't realize what happened until days later so it was too late to go for a blood test. I never reported it because I didn't want anyone to know except a close friend. So he got away with it and I'm sure he has done it before. I guess this is what he was counting on. You can't tell the color blue in a bar with the lighting they use. He used smelling salts to wake me up to have sex because I saw him walk over and put something in a nightstand after I suddenly woke up after all my clothes were off. He could have killed me because I have high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol and was on medications to begin with. This was at the Bomb Squad on Brookpark road in Cleveland, ohio on 2001. Unless your a nun or an 8 year old child, you really can't win this in court and I knew that. His attorney would have made mincemeat out of me. I didn't want to go thru that. I was a single person that went to bars anyway so they would have used that on me.
This was really helpful, it has open my eyes and made me to be very careful. I will make sure that I spread everything that I have learnt to others
Hey, I'm doing a project on Ketamine for my health class, and that's some great information, but I need to cite it but I cant find anything to cite it with??

For APA style, please use this citation: The National Institute on Drug Abuse Blog Team. (2015, March 16). What Are Date Rape Drugs and How Do You Avoid Them?. Retrieved from https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/what-are-date-rape-drugs-and-how-d... on March 19, 2018.

For MLA or AMA styles, please visit the blog and click on the link “Cite this article” in the upper-right hand corner.

Hi, I was wondering if you realize your drink was spiked and your force yourself to throw up right away it can help the drug leave your system not totally eliminate it but lessen it if help is not immediately available. I was just wondering if this is true?

We encourage you to speak with a doctor or other healthcare professional to address your specific concerns.

What are the support services for male survivors of rape? A friend of mine's called several and when describing his (and many, many others) situation(s) he was either hung up on or mocked. He can't keep doing this. He was told by her (his rapist) that if he ever spoke out about it he would be convicted and imprisoned because she would claim to be the victim and we all know what the law is like these days. This happened years ago and there's no need for direct involvement but he would like to know support services to deal with the trauma since every place he went and every place he called were convinced that a man could not rape a woman. It makes no sense that if a perpetrator is a woman she can never be convicted, but the second the victim lays a hand on her the victim goes to jail.

This sounds like a serious situation. We recommend seeking advice from a doctor or other health care professional who can provide guidance and connect your friend to support services. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. This free, confidential helpline is open 24/7/365, and trained professionals can give you advice for all kinds of tough situations, not just suicide.

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