Because of their propensity to cause drowsiness, lethargy and amnesia, many prescription drugs are often used as “date rape” drugs. Rohypnol and GHB, which are prescribed for insomnia, and Ketamine, which is given as an anesthetic, have powerful and fast-acting effects that can render an unsuspecting victim incapable of resisting a sexual assault.
A Schedule IV substance under the Controlled Substance Act, Rohypnol is illegal in the United States, but is imported illegally from other countries. Because it is a sedative, it is a popular choice for sexual predators. Mixed with alcohol or other drinks, the effects of Rohypnol can occur within 30 minutes.
GHB and Rohypnol come in odorless, tasteless and colorless forms, which make them easy to mask in drinks. Both can produce amnesia, causing individuals to completely forget or not remember things that happened the night before. They may only remember having a drink and nothing after that.
Because date rape drugs are mixed into beverages, it’s important to keep a close watch on drinks. Only accept drinks from a stranger if you watched them prepare the drink. Do not ingest a drink that smells or tastes strange or salty (GHB sometimes tastes salty).
It can be difficult to determine drugging and rape. Many victims don’t remember being drugged or assaulted. Feelings of drunkenness or disorientation without memory of a period of time are indicators.
If a rape occurs, call 911 and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Avoid urinating, bathing, brushing teeth, washing hands or changing clothes, as all of these things may contain evidence. Lastly, since an assault or rape can cause emotional stress, seek counseling at crisis center or with a counselor to start the healing process.