Given the recent spate of sexual assaults and the seizure of a large quantity of the Date Rape drug GBH by the RCMP I thought it was time to pen an article about the Date Rape drugs. I spoke with a mother on the phone recently who was interested in a Self Defence course for herself and her daughter. She was concerned as the young lady is now of legal age to go to the clubs and she was asking questions about Personal Safety and the Date Rape drugs. This article will provide women with some basic education and training in this area. Thus armed, they will be able to significantly reduce their risk of being targeted for sexual assault via chemical warfare.

The Date Rape drugs fall into a category of recreational drugs known as “Club Drugs” due to the fact that they are often used, bought and sold at bars, raves and parties. They cover a wide spectrum of substances including the Date Rape drugs. By definition a “Date Rape” drug is any substance that is used in as a tool to place the intended victim in a suggestible or helpless stated through the administration of a mind altering substance. I think it’s important to note that any drug has the potential to be utilized in the commission of a sexual assault. People often forget that “Alcohol” is most commonly employed drug in sexual assaults, not Rohypnol, Ketamine or GHB.

Rohypnol (Roofies, Ruffies, Rib, Rope, Forget Pill, R2, Roche, Lunch Money, Mexican Valium, Mind Erasers, Poor Man’s Qualude, Trip-and-Fall, Whitey’s)
This is one of the “Big Three” drugs we commonly associate with Date Rape. It is an extremely powerful sedative and prescribed as a sleep aid. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless when mixed with food, water or alcohol. Rohypnol also goes by the brand name of flunitrazepam, and is available in North America. Rohypnol takes effect relatively quickly and effects are usually noted within 20-30 minutes of ingestion of the drug. Its effects can last anywhere from 6-8 hours dependent upon the dose and the victims weight and other factors such as alcohol consumption. The effects of Rohypnol are extreme drowsiness, lowered blood pressure, visual disturbances, dizziness, and confusion, loss of muscle control, slurred speech and unconsciousness. Rohypnol produces effects that appear as extreme intoxication after very little to drink. It also often leaves the victim with little or no memory of what occurred while under the drugs influence. The drug now has an additive that causes a precipitate (blue flakes) to form when it is mixed with a liquid. This should make a drink laced with this drug easy to spot.

GHB (Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Scoop, Liquid Ecstasy, Easy Lay, Cherry Meth, Energy Drink, G, Gamma 10, Georgia Home Boy, Goop, Gook, G-Juice, Liquid E, Salt Water, Soap, Somatomax, Vita-G)
GHB or gamma hydroxybutyric is the second of the “Big Three” drugs utilized for sexual assaults. This drug was banned in 1991 but has since made resurgence as a legal muscle enhancer and fat reducer. The drug is easily available and instructions for its use and manufacturing are available on the internet. This drug is available in liquid, powder and tablet. GHB gives drinks a slightly salty taste, so it is often mixed with sweet tasting drinks such as fruit juice to mask the saltiness. GHB can be extremely dangerous especially when mixed with alcohol. It takes effect within 10-15 minutes of ingestion and can produce effects varying from relaxation and euphoria at low doses, to extreme fatigue, unconsciousness, and seizures and vomiting. Overdoses of GHB often require emergency medical treatment to combat coma and the depression of the victim’s respiration.

Ketamine (Special K, Calvin Klein, Vitamin K, Ket, Black Hole, Cat Valium, Green, Jet, K-Hole, Kit Kat, Psychedelic Heroin, Super Acid, Purple)
Ketamine was originally designed and used as a field anesthetic in Vietnam. It was discovered that it had some terrible side effects on humans and is now used as a veterinary drug. Ketamine comes in liquid or powdered form and is commonly snorted, injected or ingested. It is water soluble as well as tasteless, colorless and odorless. The drug generally takes effect within 10-15 minutes of ingestion and are short lived. Victims experience a profound change in the level of consciousness as well as memory impairment and difficulty organizing and understanding the environment. Higher doses cause unconsciousness.

Perhaps more valuable than a lesson on the types of drugs used and the methods in which they are employed it would be more valuable to look at how you can avoid becoming a victim through some very simple Personal Safety practices.

• Never accept a drink that you have not ordered, or seen mixed/opened for yourself.
• Never leave your drink unattended.
• Don’t drink anything that looks or tastes “Off”. If you are unsure don’t drink it.
• Never drink anything that has a precipitate (residue) on the glass or in the drink.
• If you start to feel funny, or more intoxicated than can be accounted for by the amount you’ve consumed, call 911.
• Never accept drinks or drugs from strangers.
• Don’t assume that this can only happen at raves, bars and big house parties. More and more often I am hearing about these drugs being employed at sporting events, High School/Junior High dances, college campuses, workplace parties etc.
• Always go out/party with a group of friends.
• Plan to go home as a group or with someone you trust.

By incorporating some basic knowledge of these substances and how they can be used to facilitate a sexual assault, women can protect themselves through proactive planning and preventative practices. We may never completely eliminate the use of chemical warfare in the commission of sexual assaults, but we can start reducing the statistics one women at a time through knowledge, preparation, training and practice.

Kerry Sauve
StreetSense Safety and Security Inc

Author's Bio: 

I am a veteran Peace Officer with over 30 years experience in the combat arts. I am also one of the Directors of StreetSense Safety and Security Inc. Our Personal Safety and Self Defense courses provide a unique approach to teaching people to stay safe and protect their families.