alcohol and drugs for sexual violence
Alcohol and sexual assault
Various drugs are used to
facilitate rape. Alcohol is by far the most frequently used. In a
national study of college students, 75% of males and 55% of females
involved in date rape had been drinking or using drugs prior to the
assault. Alcohol impairs inhibitions, judgment and decision-making.
Mixing alcohol and sex puts you at risk for sexual assault, sexually
transmitted infections, or simply being in an embarrassing and awkward
situation in the morning.
Alcohol use by women makes
them more vulnerable to sexual assault. While men, when drinking, are
also at increased risk of being sexually victimized, they are also more
likely to engage in coercive sexual behaviors - including sexual
As many as 70% of college
students admit to having engaged in sexual activity primarily as a
result of being under the influence of alcohol, or to having sex
they wouldn't have had if they had been sober.
One in twelve college
males admit to having committed acts that met the legal definition
60% of college women who
are infected with STDs, including genital herpes and HIV, report
that they were under the influence of alcohol at the time they had
intercourse with the infected person.
One in five college
students abandon safer sex practices when they're drunk, even if
they always protect themselves when sober.
Alcohol is sometimes used as
an excuse for unacceptable behavior. When a man sexually assaults an
acquaintance, he is seen as less responsible for his actions if he was
drunk. Our societal double standard, however, results in the woman being
seen as "to blame" for the assault if she was intoxicated. In addition,
survivors who were drinking when they were sexually assaulted tend to
have more feelings of self-blame. It is important to remember that no
one deserves to be raped. Choosing to drink alcohol should not be
equated with choosing to be sexually assaulted.
According to state law, a
person who is unconscious (passed out) or incapacitated, whether from
alcohol, drugs, or illness, cannot give consent to sex. Therefore, if
sexual contact occurs, it is sexual assault. When there is any
uncertainty about your partner's ability to give consent, it is wise to
wait for another time. To engage in sexual activity with someone who is
under the influence of alcohol or drugs simply is not worth the risk.
Newer date rape drugs:
rohypnol, ghb and ketamine
Rohypnol, GHB and other drugs
are sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault. They can be slipped
into the drink of an unsuspecting victim, causing incapacitation in just
Rohypnol: What is it?
Rohypnol (the brand name of Flunitrazepam) is a
benzodiazepine like the tranquilizer Valium, but it is
10 times more potent. Rohypnol has been called the "date
rape drug" because of its use in sexual assaults.
Rohypnol produces profound, prolonged sedation, a
feeling of well being and short-term memory loss.
Sedation occurs 15-20 minutes following the
administration of just 2 mg of the drug and lasts from 4
to 24 hours.
Rohypnol: How Can I
In the U.S., Rohypnol is commonly found in its .1-or
2-mg tablet form. The drug is targeted at young people
for several reasons. One is that Rohypnol is sold very
cheaply (a tablet can be bought for under $5). The drug
has been re-formulated by the manufacturer with a dye
that is supposed to be visible if slipped into a drink.
It is also designed to dissolve more slowly and leave a
film on the liquid's surface; however, there are copycat
drugs coming from other countries that do not have these
In its newest form, Rohypnol is distributed as an olive
green, oblong tablet with the # 5Y2 imprinted on it. Its
older form was a small, white, round "aspirin-like"
tablet that could be crushed into a powder. Copycat
forms may be any color. It can also be found as a
powdered substance. The tablets come packaged in
bubble-foil packets and have a "clean, pure" look to
them. Some of the common street names for Rohypnol
include: roofies, roopies, circles, ruffies, roches, and
"the forget pill."
Rohypnol: What are the
Effects on the Body?
The effects of Rohypnol are similar to other sedatives:
a drunken appearance (drowsiness, light-headedness, and
dizziness), muscle weakness, fatigue, and slurred
speech, loss of motor coordination, loss of judgment,
and amnesia that lasts up to 24 hours. Death has
resulted in Rohypnol users due to coma induction or a
combination effect of the drug with other drugs, most
notably alcohol. Some of the adverse effects include:
hallucinations, delirium, convulsions, coma, numbness,
nausea, seizures, and sleep disruption. Patterns of
abuse involve mixing the drug with alcohol, spiking
drinks, including soft drinks in order to commit sexual
assault, and ingesting or snorting the drug to boost the
effects of cocaine or heroin.
GHB: What is it?
A drug that has not been approved by the Food and Drug
Administration since, but 1990 has made an illegal
comeback. The substance is called Gamma Hydroxybutyrate,
or GHB. It is made from ingredients found in health food
and chemical supply stores. GHB is illegal in the U.S.
and cannot be bought; however, it is still being
clandestinely made and dispensed at night clubs and
elsewhere. GHB is sometimes used by athletes because it
promotes the release of growth hormones.
GHB: What are the Effects
on the Body?
GHB creates deep sedation quickly, like rohypnol, and is
considered a "date rape" drug. Known also as Grievous
Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Salt Water, Scoop or Easy Lay,
GHB in its most common form is a clear liquid; but it
may also come in a white, grainy, powdered form. GHB is
readily absorbed and reaches the brain quickly.
Intoxication effects begin 10 to 20 minutes after drug
is taken and typically last up to 4 hours depending on
the dosage. A one-half gram quantity of GHB renders the
victim helpless to defend against an assault. Side
effects include drowsiness, nausea, respiratory
distress, vomiting, headaches, dizziness,
disorientation, amnesia, coma or even death (especially
when combined with alcohol). Overdose can happen
Ketamine: What is it?
Ketamine hydrochloride, known as Special K and K, is a
general anesthetic for human and veterinary use.
Ketamine produces effects similar to PCP with the visual
effects of LSD. The drug effects can include: distorted
sense of balance, time judgment and ability to
communicate, blurred vision, disorientation, trembling,
and loss of consciousness for up to 18 to 24 hours,
amnesia, high blood pressure, recurrent flash backs,
potentially fatal respiratory problems.
Ketamine sold on the streets comes from diverted
legitimate supplies, primarily veterinary clinics. Its
appearance is similar to that of pharmaceutical grade
cocaine, and it is snorted, placed in alcoholic
beverages, or smoked in combination with marijuana. The
incidence of ketamine abuse is increasing, and accounts
of ketamine abuse appear in reports of parties attended
by teenagers and young adults.
how can i prevent becoming a victim of date rape drugs?
Do not accept beverages,
including nonalcoholic ones, from someone not known and trusted
Carry cab money.
In a bar, only accept
drinks from the bartender or wait staff.
Always watch your drink
at bars and parties. Never leave your drink unattended. Be aware of
what's going on around you.
Be alert to behavior of
friends. If someone appears much more drunk than they should be,
considering the amount of alcohol consumed, be concerned and closely
monitor the person's behavior.
If you feel dizzy,
disoriented or physically uncomfortable in any way, tell someone you
trust and ask for help in getting home.
what to do if you are victimized
If you or a person you know
might have been drugged without your knowledge and/or assaulted under
the influence of Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, or any drug:
Call the police (911) for
assistance. Immediately seek medical help.
Describe any and all
symptoms fully to your physician.
Make your physician aware
that you may have been drugged. It is imperative that you be tested
as soon as possible for the drug's presence in your body.
Rohypnol can be detected
in the blood up to 4 hours after ingestion and in urine up to 48
hours after ingestion. GHB is normally not detectable in blood or
urine after only 12 hours.
Try not to urinate prior
to providing urine samples. If possible, find cups or glasses from
which you drank and/or a sample of the suspect beverage, and submit
these to the police for laboratory tests.