This area provides information about Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault, how to tell if you have been drugged, and how to protect yourself and your friends.
Drugs & Sexual Assault
- Drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB, have been called "rape drugs" because they can be used as weapons in sexual assault cases.
The drugs are usually slipped into a person's drink without that person's knowledge or consent.
When the drugs dissolve in the drink, they are colorless, odorless, and sometimes tasteless. You cannot tell that you are being drugged. Other substances—prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, illegal drugs, recreational drugs, and "club drugs"—can be used for the same purpose.
- The drugs incapacitate you.
They may make you feel drowsy, confused, physically weak, and/or unconscious.
Some of the drugs can also have other serious side effects, such as causing your blood pressure to drop, breathing problems, or coma; they can even cause death.
- The drugs may also affect your memory.
When the drugs wear off, you may not be able to recall what happened to you.
- The drugs are especially dangerous when they are mixed with alcohol and/or other drugs.
- Some rapists use these drugs to overpower and incapacitate their victims and to facilitate a sexual assault. These crimes are called "drug-facilitated sexual assaults".
- Below is a typical example of a "drug-facilitated sexual assault”
- You are at a party, a club, or a social event. You are with people you know, people you believe you have no reason to fear.
Someone secretly drops a drug in your drink. When the drug dissolves, it is colorless and odorless. It may also be tasteless.
You cannot tell that you are being drugged.
As you consume the drink, the drug takes effect. You are now in a weakened, helpless, or unconscious state. You cannot escape, resist, or even call out for help. You are sexually assaulted.
When the drug wears off, you may not remember what was done to you, who did it, or whether anyone watched.
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Signs You May Have Been Drugged
- Feeling a lot more intoxicated than your usual response to the amount of alcohol you consumed
- Waking up very hung over, feeling "fuzzy," experiencing memory lapse, and being unable to account for a period of time
- Remembering taking a drink but being unable to recall what happened for a period of time after you consumed the drink
- Feeling as though someone had sex with you, but being unable remember any or all of the incident
- Not everyone is affected the same way. It is difficult to predict the exact effects of any drug on a particular individual. The effects may vary depending upon the drug, the dose you ingest, and whether the drug is mixed with alcohol or other drugs. Other factors that influence how a particular drug will affect you are your weight, gender, metabolism, and other issues, such as how soon you receive medical assistance. There is one thing you can be sure of - the danger of serious and harmful effects is greatly increased when drugs like Rohypnol, GHB, Ecstasy, and Ketamine are ingested in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
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Watching Out for Yourself
- Don't accept drinks from people you don't know.
- Don't drink beverages that you did not open yourself.
- Don't share or exchange drinks with anyone.
- Don't take a drink from a punch bowl or a container that is being passed around.
- If possible, bring your own drinks to parties.
- If someone offers you a drink from the bar at a club or party, accompany the person to the bar to order your drink, watch the drink being poured, and carry the drink yourself.
- Don't leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call.
- If you realize your drink has been left unattended, discard it.
- Don't drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance (e.g., salty taste, excessive foam, unexplained residue).
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Watching Out for Your Friend
- Know the danger signs and take action—if someone seems very drunk, gets sick after drinking a beverage, is having trouble breathing, passes out and can't be awakened, or is behaving in some other unusual way, the person may be in danger. Get medical attention immediately. Call 911 for emergency medical help. Do not assume the person just needs to "sleep it off." She or he could die.
- If you see or hear that someone is "dosing" a drink or a punch bowl, do something. Warn other people at the party, throw the drink away, get help from friends, and if anyone seems "drugged," help her or him get medical care.
- Warn friends about high-risk situations or places such as clubs or parties where "dosing" is known to have happened.
- Go to clubs or parties with friends you trust and agree to look out for one another. Appoint a "designated sober person," one friend who won't drink and who will regularly check up on the others in your group. Leave parties with people you know.
- Don't leave alone or with someone you don't know very well.
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