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Beware date-rape drugs - they can kill

by Becky Nelson, Student Life editor

You can find them at parties, on college campuses, and in nightclubs. You buy them on the street, the Internet, your local drug store, and you can even make them at home. They are date-rape drugs and they can kill you.

Date-rape drugs can be defined as “any substance that renders you incapable of saying no or asserting yourself and your needs (and) can be used to commit rape,” according to Mike Hardcastle, a teen drug addiction counselor who provides free information for teens and their parents on



Date-rape drugs can be defined as “any substance that renders you incapable of saying no or asserting yourself and your needs (and) can be used to commit rape,” according to Mike Hardcastle, a teen drug addiction counselor who provides free information for teens and their parents on

Alcohol, marijuana or other street drugs, designer or club drugs such as ecstasy, over-the-counter sleeping pills and antihistamines, even cold medications can be used as date rape drugs, according to But, there are three common date-rape drugs to watch out for, which may be rather difficult because you will not be able to taste, smell, or see them. They can be hidden in water or food, and you only have hours to detect them. They are Rohypnol, Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB), and Ketamine Hydrochloride.

Roofies, ruffies, roche, circles, or the forget-me-pill may be the names used for Rohypnol, a prescription sedative/depressant. It’s a street drug that can be crushed and quickly dissolved into any drink. Twenty minutes after ingestion, you may have spells of nervousness, amnesia, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, a stomachache, or the inability to urinate. Effects can last eight to 36 hours, and traces of the drug only remain in your system up to 48 hours. Roofies are commonly used in bar scenes without anyone ever noticing.

GHB is used as an anesthetic, and its effects can be felt more rapidly, leaving you only 10-15 minutes of normalcy before experiencing euphoria, amnesia, intoxication, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, hallucinations, respiratory depression, and sometimes seizures. According to Hardcastle, these effects can last or be repeated for three to six hours, and if the drug is mixed with alcohol or other drugs, you may experience effects for as long as 72 hours.

Different body types can tolerate different amounts of GHB, and many victims are given an overdose, become unconscious, go in to a coma, or die within the first five minutes of ingestion. Manufacture and possession of GHB are illegal in the United States and Canada, but it is produced in illegal drug labs and people’s homes. Ingredients for this anesthetic can be bought at your local drug store, and recipes can easily be found on the Internet. Easy Lay, Liquid Ecstasy, Ellie, Chemical X, Liquid Dream, and Get-Her-to-Bed are common names for GHB. It is found at parties, usually mixed with other drugs. It is usually dropped in drinks and can be given by itself in a shot glass.

Ketamine Hydrochloride differs from the other two-date rape drugs because it is easily accessible. Used as a veterinary sedative or hospital-grade anesthetic, it is similar to phencyclidine (PCP). Ketamine Hydrochloride, also known as Special K, Super K, K, OK, KO, Vitamin K, Kid Rock, Ket Kat, or Make-Her-Mine, can be dissolved in a drink or mixed with other drugs. Your heart may beat rapidly, you may become aggressive, irritable or confused, and your reaction time may be depressed. If it’s mixed with alcohol your body may look distorted, you may experience amnesia or euphoria, and you may eventually slip into a coma.

All or some of these effects can be felt instantly or develop within 10-20 minutes. After feeling its effects for almost three hours, victims sometimes sleep for 24 hours or more. With only 48 hours to detect this drug in your system, it may be impossible to know if it was ever in your body at all.
Even though each of these drugs cause specific symptoms, you may not always realize you are experiencing them. While the drug is active in your system, you will have little or no control over your body. Once it has left your system, you will have only slight, if any, memory of what happened while on the drug. You may not even know you experienced symptoms of a date-rape drug unless someone tells you.

Remember, you will not be able to smell, taste, or see any of these drugs if they are slipped into your drink. If you think you may be a victim of a date-rape drug, you should get to the hospital as soon as you can. You should tell the emergency room doctor or nurse you need to be tested for date-rape drugs. At a party, nightclub, or anywhere with people you do not trust, taking precautions is best. suggests these tips for avoiding the possibility of ingesting a date rape drug:

· Do not accept open alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks from anyone you do not know or do not trust.

· Always get your drink directly from the bartender and do not take your eyes off the bartender or your order.

· Do not use the waitress or let somebody go to the bar for you.

· Only accept drinks in closed containers.

· Never leave your drink unattended or turn your back to your table.

· Do not drink from open punch bowls, pitchers, or tubs.

· Keep your eyes and ears open: if there is talk of date-rape drugs, or if friends seem too intoxicated for what they have had to drink, leave the party or club immediately and do not go back.

You can also order date-rape drug detector tests. The most common kits come with coasters or strips that change color when they come in contact with a drink containing a date rape drug. You can get more information about “Drink Safe” strips and coasters at

It’s very important to be cautious about date-rape drugs. Keep an eye out for your friends and never lose sight of your drink, even if you are just having water. Date-rape drugs can cause you, or your friends, to be beaten, raped, and even killed.


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