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Date Rape Drugs

Date rape is both physically and emotionally devastating for its victims. Date rape occurs when someone is forced to have sex by a person he or she knows. Of course date rape occurs when drugs are not involved. But certain drugs can and are used to make victims incapable of resisting the attack or remembering the incident altogether.

In 1996 the federal government passed a law called the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996. This law makes it a felony to give an unsuspecting person a date rape drug with the intent of committing violence, including rape, against him or her.

Unfortunately, the law does not eliminate the use of these drugs by predators. The best defense against them is awareness of their names, uses, and dangers.


Street Name

“K”, Special K, Vitamin K, Ket, Kit Kat, Super Acid,

Ketamine, or its chemical name ketamine hydrochloride, is a used as an animal tranquilizer and an anesthetic. It was developed in the 1970s for medical and surgical purposes. It is legal only under a doctor's supervision. However, the drug has been used for non-medical purposes and has been added to the list of date rape drugs.

Ketamine is called a “disassociative anesthetic” and impacts the central nervous system by separating perception and sensation. This drug comes in a white powder, tablet, or liquid. The powder form can be added to tobacco or marijuana to be smoked. When Ketamine is taken orally the effects begin within 10 to 20 minutes and 5 to 10 when snorted. Effects can last up to 48 hours.

Ketamine causes impaired attention, learning difficulties, memory loss, delirium, paranoia, slurred speech, breathing problems and unconsciousness. One characteristic that makes it attractive to sexual predators is its effects of amnesia, hallucinations, and dissociation.


Street Name

Roofies, Rope, Ruffies, R2, Ruffles, Roche, Forget-pill, Mexican Valium

Rohypnol is a drug that produces a significant sedative effect. It depresses the central nervous system and is prescribed as a sleeping pill and as a pre-anesthetic in Europe . Rohypnol produces amnesia, muscle relaxation, and slowing of psychomotor response. Rohypnol is not sanctioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a sedative-hypnotic drug, such as Valium, and is not legally produced in the U.S. nor marketed in the United States . It is however, produced legally for insomnia in Mexico and South America and is transported illegally into the United States .

These small white pills, which are in packs marked “Roche” (this is the name of the manufacturer F. Hoffmann-LaRoche LTd.), are easy to smuggle. President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1996 that made using or selling Rohypnol a federal crime.

Because of its amnesiac characteristics, sexual predators favor Rohypnol. It can be added to any liquid but the effects are intensified when combined with alcohol. The pills dissolve in liquids with no odor, color, or taste. Because of its link to date rape the manufacturer has produced a pill that dissolves more slowly and turns a drink blue. Rohypnol takes effect quickly after ingestion - about 10 to 30 minutes. Effects of disinhibition and amnesia can last from 8-24 hours.

Many victims have reported that after Rohypnol was slipped into their drinks, they blacked out and woke up unsure of what had happened during the course of their blackout. Also, it is important to note is that the loss of memory does not necessarily mean a loss of consciousness. Victims can be awake and still experience complete memory loss of the incident. The loss of memory may prevent people from reporting the crime soon enough to be tested for the drug. In addition, Rohypnol causes drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, lowered blood pressure, hot or cold feelings and intestinal problems. The drug is detectable for 24-60 hours after ingestion.


Street Name

Liquid Ecstasy, G, Grievous Bodily Harm , Georgia Home Boy, Scoop, Easy Lay

GHB or gamma-hydroxybutyrate is an odorless, colorless, slightly salty tasting liquid that can be lethal when taken with alcohol or other depressants. GHB affects brain chemistry by increasing levels of dopamine, which is a brain chemical involved with motivation, pleasure, initiation, and control of movement. GHB enhances sensitivity to touch and reduces inhibitions.

At one point, drug companies were interested in GHB as a sleep aid because it can deepen REM sleep and also as an anesthetic. However, the Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Agency banned GHB from legal sale in the United States in 1991. This ban was influenced by the fact that 57 cases of GHB poisoning were reported by the Center for Disease Control in late 1990. Despite the ban, the illegal manufacturing of this dangerous drug by “basement chemists” continues.

In addition to the existing risks of GHB such as incoherence, dizziness, severe headaches, seizure, and coma, the fabrication of this drug by those with limited understanding of drug chemistry only makes the drug more dangerous and unpredictable. Unlike Rohypnol (Roofies), which can only be manufactured commercially, GHB is easily made at home. Internet sights even have information on buying GHB kits.

Lower level doses of GHB can produce amnesia and hypotonia (muscle weakness) and higher levels produce sleep, anesthesia, and coma. Users may never really know the concentration and purity of GHB made in home labs. In combination with alcohol or other depressants, GHB depresses the central nervous system. This can lead to unconsciousness, respiratory arrest, and coma. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, 32 deaths and 3500 incidents, including overdoses have been attributed to GHB.

Many people that have been exposed to GHB ____without their knowledge and consent. GHB is a tool of choice for sexual predators. GHB can easily be slipped into someone's drink and is used as a “date rape” drug. It is absorbed into the body quickly and takes effect within 15 minutes. Its effects can last between 2-3 hours. In combination with alcohol, the effects of GHB may last from 20-30 hours. GHB is virtually undetected once it is dissolved in a drink. A strong flavorful drink like a margarita can mask its slightly salty taste. It can knock victims out, leaving them defenseless against rape. In addition, GHB is undetectable in the urine after 12 hours.

REMEMBER! The number one date rape drug isn't GHB, Roofies, or Ketamine. The number one date rape drug is ALCOHOL.

If someone drinks, it does not give anyone the right to have sex with him or her without his or her consent.


  • Unfortunately, it is impossible to reduce your risk of harm to zero. However, there are a few things that you can do to make it more difficult for perpetrators to succeed in their attempts.
  • Remember, whether or not you follow these tips, rape is NEVER the victim's fault. Here at the Campus Advocacy Network we believe that the Perpetrator is the only one who is responsible.
  • Never accept an open drink from a stranger. Only drink from containers you have opened yourself.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. If you must, throw it out!
  • Go to parties with close friends, if you leave a party tell a friend where you are going and with whom.
  • Monitor the behavior of your friends. Date rape drugs work quickly and intensively. If your friend seems more intoxicated than what the amount of alcohol would warrant. Get them home and get them help.
  • If you feel more intoxicated than what the amount of consumed alcohol would warrant-tell a trusted friend and get medical attention. If you think you have been drugged call 911 immediately and get someone to take you to the hospital.


If you or someone you know has been hurt:

Campus Advocacy Network

Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Abuse

After an Assault


For More Information on Date Rape Drugs:

National Institute on Drug Abuse, Club Drugs Home Page

Monitoring the Future Survey

Drink Safe Technology

Illinois Attorney General Website



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This project was supported by Grant No. 2002-WA-BX-0011 awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women and the U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.