5 FAQs about Date-Rape Drugs & Sexual Violence on Campus

Date-Rape Drug Facts

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 19 November 2015 |

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date rape drugs sexual violenceYou’re out having fun with your friends at a campus party, and the next thing you know, you wake up with no memory of what happened.

It’s an unfortunate, yet all too familiar scenario: date-rape drugs were used with the intent to commit sexual violence.

How Often Are Date-Rape Drugs Used?

A 2015 Washington Post survey of college students living on or near campus found that of the women who experienced sexual assault, nine percent thought they were given a drug without their knowledge or consent.

Who is Using Date-Rape Drugs?

The name makes it sound like you intimately know the person. But that’s just not true. There’s no way to tell for certain who is planning to slip you a date-rape drug.

The person you’re currently dating, the class-mate you worked on a project with or the stranger you’ve never seen before. It could be anyone.

So what can you do? Get educated.

  • Familiarize yourself with the different types of date-rape drugs and their effects
  • Learn what to do to keep yourself safe
  • Practice bystander intervention to help someone else

What Are The Three Most Common Date-Rape Drugs?

Most date-rape drugs are almost invisible. They take action very quickly and have no color, smell or taste. This makes them very dangerous, and unfortunately, very appealing to perpetrators of campus sexual violence.

According to the Office on Women's Health (OWH), the three most common date-rape drugs are Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine.

Rohypnol is available as round, white pills or oval, green-gray pills. The pills may or may not have a dye in them that creates color changes. And they may also be ground up into a powder. Some of the effects include:

  • Muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control
  • Memory problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Stomach problems

Ketamine (most commonly used in veterinary offices) comes as both a liquid and a white powder. Some of the effects include:

  • Distorted perceptions of sight and sound
  • Lost sense of time and identity
  • Problems breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Slurred speech

GHB is available as a liquid with no odor or color, a white powder or a pill. It might taste slightly salty when added to a drink. Some of the effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory problems
  • Problems breathing
  • Tremors

How Can You Keep Yourself Safe?

The tips below, from the OWH, are intended to help you become more vigilant and keep you safe. But also remember that if someone does drug you, it’s not your fault.

  • Make you own drinks or open the container yourself
  • Take your drink with you everywhere, even the bathroom
  • Don’t let anyone else share your drink
  • If something doesn’t taste right, stop drinking it immediately
  • When you get drink from the bar, watch it being poured
  • Try to have a friend that’s not drinking with you
  • If you feel drunk, but haven’t had any alcohol, get help right away
  • If the effects of alcohol are stronger than usual, get help right away

And finally, if you see someone and think they’ve been drugged or are about to become the victim of sexual violence, practice bystander intervention.

What Are The Ways to Practice Bystander Intervention?

The Not Alone Report, commissioned by President Obama, advocates for bystander intervention as an essential part of preventing sexual violence on campus. Bystander intervention means speaking up and getting involved when you see signs of sexual violence – like someone being drugged.

Some of the ways you can practice bystander intervention include:

  • If you see that someone’s drink has been spiked, let them know.
  • If you see someone spike an unattended drink and walk away, throw away the drink.
  • If you see someone and they are acting strange, offer to get them help.
  • If you realize someone has been drugged, seek medical attention.
  • If someone shows you drugs and tells you their intentions are to drug someone, alert the authorities.

And if possible in any of these scenarios, report the incident to the proper authorities.

Bystander intervention doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in harms way, but if you can do something, you’ll be helping to make your campus a safer place.

Conclusion

Date-rape drugs are part of the sexual violence problem on college campuses. But when you arm yourself with information, like the types and effects of the drugs, you help to keep yourself safe. And by practicing bystander intervention, you can help keep others on your campus safe.

To learn about using online training to educate your campus about sexual violence and bystander intervention, download our Tarrant County College case study.

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