Ever wake up and not remember what you did the night before? In college, it happens more often than people would like. Sometimes its because you chose to drink too much. Sometimes its because someone else drugged you.
Date rape drugs are something to be aware of when you go out to the bar or to parties off campus. The four most common date rape drugs are alcohol, Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine. Alcohol is the most used drug in date rape situations. Be aware if someone keeps bringing you drinks without being asked or keeps encouraging you to drink more. Date rape drugs are any substance that renders you incapable of saying no or asserting yourself in a situation.
Rohypnol is a prescription sedative/depressant. It is not approved or manufactured in North America but can be found as a street drug. It is tasteless, colorless, and odorless and can be added to any drink without detection. It can take effect within 20 minutes. When mixed without alcohol the effects last 8-12 hours. With alcohol the effects can last up to 36 hours. The most common side effects are disinhibition, amnesia, confusion, drowsiness, memory impairment and semi-consciousness.
Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate is an odorless, colorless liquid that resembles water. It is a depressant. It is illegal in the U.S. and Canada, but it manufactured in illegal drug labs. It can take effect within 15 minutes. When taken with alcohol the effects last 3-6 hours. With alcohol the effects can last 36 hours or more. The most common side effects are amnesia, intoxication, drowsiness, severe respiratory depression and in some cases coma.
Ketamine Hydrochloride is a legal drug sold as a veterinary sedative or hospital grade anesthesia. It acts like PCP. When taken orally or nasally can take effect within 20 minutes. When taken intravenously the effects are instantaneous. The effects last less than 3 hours. The most common side effects are disassociation, amnesia, mild respiratory depression, confusion, delayed reaction time and delirium.
The drugs listed above are very dangerous for obvious reasons. Here are some ways to protect yourself from Date Rape Drugs.
1. Don’t accept open drinks from others who you do not know or trust.
2. At parties, only accept drinks in unopened containers. Don’t drink out of a glass unless you have poured the drink yourself.
3. Never leave your drink unattended.
4. Go with friends, stay with friends, go home with friends.
5. Use Drink Safe Technology. It is test strips or coasters that work like litmus paper in Chemistry class. They change color when they come in contact with a date rape drug. http://www.drinksafetech.com
What should you do if you think you have been drugged? The reason these drugs are used is because it has the effect of erasing your memory. So some people may never be aware that something has happened to them. Here are some signs you have been drugged.
1. You don’t remember drinking anything after having one drink.
2. You feel very hung over but don’t remember drinking much at all.
3. You have no clear memory of events during an 8-24 hour period and have no reason for the memory lapse.
4. You feel soreness or have bruising in your genital area, thighs or wrists and arms.
5. You may feel like you have had sex even though you don’t remember it.
If you realize that you have been drugged, get to a safe place. Call a friend to take you to the hospital right away. Do not bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, change your clothes, or eat or drink before you go. At the hospital ask to take a urine sample so they will test for those specific drugs in your system. Contact the police when you get to the hospital to report what you do remember. Get counseling or support. Remember, that you are never at fault. No matter what the situation, no one deserves to be raped.
For more help call the National Sexual Abuse Hotline- (800) 656-HOPE
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network- www.rainn.org