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Most students forget that alcohol is the number one date rape drug on college campuses. Approximately 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson et al., 2005). Although it is important to protect yourself against other date rape drugs, alcohol is by far the most widely used
Don't accept drinks from other people.
Open containers yourself.
Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom.
Don't share drinks.
Don't drink from punch bowls or other open containers. They may already have drugs in them.
If someone offers to get you a drink from a bar or at a party, go with the person to order your drink. Watch the drink being poured and carry it yourself.
MDMA, with street alias, Ecstasy, is a designer drug usually found at raves. MDMA is an amphetamine derivative and it is considered to be a strong stimulant. Its chemical structure is similar to two other synthetic drugs, methamphetamine and MDA. It is generally sold in the pill/tablet form for about $20 to $30 a pill.
MDMA stimulates the release of the serotonin from brain neurons, producing a high that lasts from several minutes to an hour. The drug’s rewarding effects vary with the individual taking it, the dose and purity, and the environment in which it is taken. MDMA can produce stimulant effects such as an enhanced sense of pleasure and self-confidence and increased energy. Its psychedelic effects include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance, and empathy. Users claim they experience feelings of closeness with others and a desire to touch them.
With regular and frequent use, tolerance builds to the effects of the drug, while dangerous results increase with continued use. The drug effects are unpredictable among different individuals even if given the same dosage.
Users experience confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia-during and sometimes weeks after use (even psychotic episodes have been reported), muscle tension, involuntary teeth-clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movements, faintness, and chills or sweating; increases in heart rate and blood pressure (a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease).
The Rohypnol pill looks like aspirin. Rohypnol is usually sold in its original bubble packaging just as most prescription drugs are. This unfortunately assists in creating the misperception that this “medicine” is safe or legal. Generic and illegally manufactured versions exist. Cost ranges from $0.50 to $5 a pill.
Like alcohol, the drug is considered a date rape drug of choice; attackers slip the drug into victims’ drinks to promote disinhibition. The drug is given to unwary victims (male or female) without their consent. The victim is physically incapacitated and has impaired judgment. This makes victims more vulnerable to assault and rape. Because of the memory loss and confusion under the influence of this drug, rape cases are difficult to prosecute. Recently, screening for Rohypnol has improved.
One trend is termed synthetic speedballing. This involves combining Ecstasy and Rohypnol to induce a stronger effect. To produce a “floating effect,” Rohypnol is also used in combination with marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. College students typically use alcohol in combination with Rohypnol to create an enhanced feeling of drunkenness. High school students use the drug as a “cheap drunk” without the smell of alcohol. In some areas, it is associated with gangs and is known as a club drug. It is also popular in raves. Warning – when used in combination with other drugs including alcohol, Rohypnol presents great risk of overdose. Results are fatal because breathing stops. Combining Rohypnol with MDMA (Ecstasy) can lead to heart failure, coma, and death.
Rohypnol produces sedative effects, amnesia, muscle relaxation, and the slowing of psychomotor performance. Sedation occurs within 15 to 30 minutes after ingestion of a 2-mg tablet, and lasts for approximately 8 hours. Peak effect takes place after approximately 2 hours causing most victims to lose consciousness. Those who ingest the Rohypnol become extremely relaxed, can lose bodily control. They are uninhibited and appear to be very drunk. Greatest physiological risk occurs when Rohypnol is used in with other drugs.
Rohypnol is 10 times more potent than Valium and enters the bloodstream as quickly as 15 minutes after ingestion. A single 2-milligram pill has the same potency as a 6-pack of beer, but the effects differ slightly. Users can experience extreme sedation, dizziness, and loss of bodily control. Rohypnol causes an intoxication where users don’t care about what they do or cannot stop what happens to them. Users have great difficulty remembering what happened while they were under the influence of the drug; it wipes the memory clean.
Ketamine was developed in the 1960’s as an anesthetic for surgeries. Today it is used mostly by veterinarians. Ketamine causes unconsciousness, hallucinations, loss of body control and numbing. Overdose can be fatal. Ketamine is found in a white powder or a liquid and has a horrible, strong bitter flavor. Ketamine works very quickly, so if you tasted it in your drink you would only have a few seconds before losing consciousness.
GHB is a depressant that is chemically similar to a substance that is found in every cell of the human body. GHB was used in the past to treat childbirth problems and anxiety. It was made illegal in the 90’s as GHB slows the brain and body and is easy to overdose and cause addiction. In small doses it produces mild sedation, slowed heart and breathing rates. In large doses it can cause seizures, coma, or death.
It is often hard to tell. Most victims don't remember being drugged or assaulted. The victim might not be aware of the attack until 8 or 12 hours after it occurred. These drugs also leave the body very quickly. Once a victim gets help, there might be no proof that drugs were involved in the attack. But there are some signs that you might have been drugged: