Substance-related rape

Substance-related rape is occurring more frequently. Sexual predators use date rape drugs to alter their victims’ motor skills and judgement. These drugs leave victims weakened, helpless or unconscious – unable to escape, resist an assault or even call out for help. Date rape drugs are illegal substances. They can be used anywhere (bars/clubs, house parties, restaurants, while camping etc.) and by anyone (friends, partners, acquaintances or strangers).

The most common "date rape" drugs are:

  • Ketamine Hydrochloride (aka special k, super k, vitamin k, kid rock, ket kat, lady k)
  • Rohypnol (aka roofies, roachies, ra roche, rophies, ruffies, roofenol)
  • GHB (gamma-hydroxybutrate; aka goop, liquid ecstasy, liquid x, somatomax, scoop, grievous bodily harm).

These drugs are illegal substances that alter your motor skills and judgment, and which make you unable to resist assault. Taken with alcohol, Rohypnol can result in blackouts and memory loss. These drugs are often colorless, tasteless and hard to detect. They can take effect in as little as 10 minutes, and can cause the following reactions:

  • Amnesia (memory loss)L
  • Lost sense of time and identity
  • Blurred vision
  • Mental confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling very drunk
  • Numbness (despite little or no alcohol consumption)
  • Respiratory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgement
  • Stomach problems
  • Loss of consciousness (black out)
  • Vomiting

How do you know if you were drugged?

If your memory was affected, it can be difficult but not impossible. The only way to know for sure is to have a medical test.

If you suspect that you were given a drug, you need to go to the hospital emergency room immediately and request a test for date rape drugs. These drugs pass through the system very quickly (usually 24 to 72 hours) so it is important to get tested as soon as possible. If possible, try to keep a sample of the beverage for testing.

If you suspect that you were raped under the influence of a rape drug, get to safety. If willing, seek attention at the hospital in emergency and request a rape examination and testing for rape drugs. The rape exam will check for possible sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as other potential infections. If you want to report the incident to the police, don't shower, bathe, douche, change clothes until after the exam, and don't clean up the area until evidence has been collected for the police. Victim witness Services can be provided to help you through this.

Possible signs that you were drugged:

  • If you wake up with a memory lapse but had little or no alcohol to drink
  • If you have an intense hang-over but had little or no alcohol to drink
  • If you find signs of sexual activity but don't remember having sex (signs of sexual contact may include soreness, bruises, scratches, traces of semen or vaginal fluids, used condoms)
  • If your friends or others are talking about how drunk you were, even though you had little or no alcohol to drink
  • If you had strangely realistic dreams/hallucinations or fleeting memories of feeling or acting intoxicated
  • If you have no clear memory of the last 8 to 24 hours, with no known reason for your memory loss

How to reduce the risk of becoming a victim:

  • Don't accept any beverages, including alcohol, from someone you do not know well and trust.
  • At parties or clubs, do not accept open-container drinks from anyone.
  • Don't trust your drink with anyone & don't leave beverages unattended.
  • At a bar or club, accept drinks only from the bartender or server.
  • Always go with a friend and promise to watch out for one another.
  • If you feel strangely dizzy and/or confused, get help from your friend immediately.
  • If someone appears disproportionately drunk in relation to the amount of alcohol they have consumed, they may be in danger. Get help immediately by taking the person to the hospital emergency room or calling 911 for an ambulance.
  • Strategize and plan with your friends about ways to look out for each other at parties and social events