Monday, April 30, 2012

Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault; Beware of rape drugs!

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.

This is a typical example of a "drug-facilitated sexual assault." Being this kind of news is so common in nowadays, I thought of discussing what Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA) is. The scope of this article would be what you’ll feel (if you were to), what to do & how to protect yourself.

Certain 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."

Rohypnol & GHB are commonly used drugs.


What Rohypnol looks like
Rohypnol is most commonly found in tablet form. It may be a small, round, white pill. When slipped into a drink, the pill dissolves and becomes invisible. Or, it may be oval-shaped and green-gray in color. These pills may have a dye in them that can make them more visible in certain drinks. But, you may not be able to see the color in a dark drink (coke or dark beer) or in a dark room.

Rohypnol is usually smuggled into this country in its original packaging; foil backed, clear plastic "bubble packs." The pills may be ground up or crushed into a powder. Rohypnol can also be found in liquid form.

How Rohypnol is abused
People "dose" other people without their knowledge by dropping whole or crushed Rohypnol tablets into their drinks. When Rohypnol is dissolved in a drink, you usually can't see it, smell it, or taste it. Therefore, if you are "dosed," you probably won't know that you're being drugged. Soft drinks, punch, beer, or other alcoholic beverages can all provide the disguise.


What GHB looks like
GHB is usually a clear liquid that is colorless and odorless. It is also produced as a white crystalline powder, and in a tablet/capsule form.

How GHB is abused
GHB is usually doled out by capfuls, teaspoons, drops, or "swigs." It may be sold or passed around in containers of varying sizes, including sports bottles, designer water bottles, eye dropper bottles, and gel caps. Or, it may be offered as a clear liquid in a small paper cup.

The clear liquid GHB is easily dropped or squirted into a drink. When hidden in a drink, it is colorless and odorless. However, it may have a slightly salty taste. Sometimes people who lace drinks with GHB attempt to mask the salty taste by mixing it with a sweet liqueur or fruit juice, or they may try to explain the salty taste by calling it a special "health" or "energy drink."

Signs You May Have Been Drugged

1.     Feeling a lot more intoxicated than your usual response to the amount of alcohol you consumed
2.     Waking up very hung over, feeling "fuzzy," experiencing memory lapse, and being unable to account for a period of time
3.     Remembering taking a drink but being unable to recall what happened for a period of time after you consumed the drink
4.     Drowsiness  ,Dizziness ,Loss of muscle control ,Slurred speech ,Decreased inhibitions ,Memory loss or impairment ,Loss of consciousness ,Vomiting
5.     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.

What to Do

What to do if you think you may have been drugged

    Get to a safe place.
    Get help immediately.
    Ask a trusted friend to stay with you and assist you in getting the services you need.
    Call the police.
    Get medical care immediately. Go to a hospital emergency department as soon as possible for an examination and evidence collection. Most "rape drugs" are metabolized very quickly by the body. The sooner you receive medical care, the more likely it is that evidence can be found that will help you identify any substances used to drug you.
    Ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing by your law enforcement agency's crime lab. Drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB are more likely to be found in urine than in blood. Special tests must be conducted to detect these drugs. Most hospitals cannot conduct these tests at the levels necessary to completely assess if you were actually drugged.
If you think you may have been sexually assaulted, you should have a specialized sexual assault examination. Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. 

Do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands, or brush your teeth before you have a medical evaluation. Save the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. 

Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred. Save any other materials that might contain evidence of the drug(s) you may have been given, such as the glass that held your drink.

Watching Out for Yourself & Your Friends

Protect 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).

Watch out for your friends

    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 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. Avoiding would be the BEST.
    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.

Against the Law

Drugging another person without their knowledge or consent is a crime.

Having sex with someone who cannot give consent because of the mental or physical effects of alcohol or drugs can be rape.

Having sex with someone who cannot resist or say "no" because the person is drugged, drunk, "too out of it," passed out, unconscious, or asleep can be rape.

 Some facts.....

·         Anyone can be a victim of DFSA regardless of age, sexual orientation or gender, though females ages 16 to 24 are the highest at risk.

·         A person does not necessarily have to be drugged by a “Date Rape” drug to become a victim of DFSA. In fact, the most common drug involved is alcohol, seconded by marijuana.

·         The perpetrator is not necessarily the one who administers the drug. The victim often voluntarily takes the drug or alcohol, but is assaulted upon becoming incapacitated.

·         Approximately 75% of sexual assaults are committed by people known to the victim.

·         The ONLY person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who commits it. Being intoxicated by alcohol or drugs is NEVER an invitation for sex.

·         Most sexual assault cases are never reported to Police. Victims may be embarrassed, have a perceived sense of guilt, or because they cannot remember what specifically happened.

(Please note that there are lot of drugs that can be used & may give different symptoms)


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