The drug rohypnol became well known when somebody posted a piece on Facebook advising ladies to beware of the substance, which is now being used by uncrupulous men to lace the drinks of ladies and later rape them.
Considering the recent incident which claimed the life of Cynthia Osukogu, a pretty damsel murdered by two supposed friends she met through Facebook, the global social networking site, one cannot be too careful these days. According to Wikipedia, a date rape drug is any drug that sometimes can be used to assist sexual assault. Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that a girl or a woman doesn’t agree to (non-consensual sexual act or intercourse (date rape).
Such sexual assault can include touching that is not okay, putting something into the vagina, sexual intercourse, rape and attempted rape. Such drugs are powerful and dangerous and can be used to facilitate sexual assault through sedative, hypnotic, dissociative and or amnesiac effects. Most times, the criminal subtly slips the drug into the food or drink without the victim’s knowledge. Since the drugs most often do not have colour, smell or taste, one cannot tell if they are being drugged. The act of adding such substances to drinks is known as “drink spiking”.
The reasons for drink spiking include maliciousness, theft, sexual assault and/or rape and can be used on both females and males. The drugs can make one become weak and confused or even pass out so that the victim are unable to refuse sex or defend oneself. If one is drugged, there is a high tendency to not remember what happened while being raped. There are three most commonly used drugs for date rape .
They’re Rohypnol This is the trade name for flunitrazepam and is known by other names like roofies, forget pill, mind erasers, lunch money and others. Rohypnol comes as a pill that dissolves in liquids. Some are small, round and white. Newer pills are oval and green-gray in colour.
When slipped into a drink, a dye in these new pills makes clear liquids turn bright blue and dark drinks turn cloudy. This colour change might be hard to see in a dark drink, like cola or dark beer or in a dark room. Also the pills with no dye are still available and may be ground into a powder.
GHB This is the acronym for gamma hydroxybutyric acid. It’s also known as easy lay, bedtime scoop, energy drink, gamma 10, great hormones, liquid ecstasy and others. GHB may be a liquid with no odor or color, white powder or pill. It might give one’s drink a slightly salty taste.
Mixing it with a sweet drink such as fruit juice can mask the salty taste. Ketamine This is also known as bump, jet, black hole, super acid and other names. Ketamine comes as a liquid and a white powder. These drugs are very powerful and affect victims very quickly without one’s knowledge. It’s effects last differently. It depends on how much of the drug is taken and if the drug is mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
Alcohol makes the drugs even stronger and can cause serious health problems or even death. Any drug that can affect judgment and behavior can put a person at risk of unwanted or risky sexual activity. Alcohol is one of such drugs and remains the most commonly used date rape drug. It is most commonly used to help commit sexual assault. It is readily available as well as legal and many assailants use alcohol because their victims often willingly imbibe it, and can be encouraged to drink enough to lose inhibitions or consciousness .
When a person drinks too much alcohol, it is harder to think clearly; set limits and make good choices. A person may not be able to tell when a situation could be dangerous; say ‘no’ to sexual advances; fight back if a sexual assault occurs and it is possible to blackout and to have memory loss.
Rohypnol can be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours. If one is drugged with rohypnol, the effect is seen in the form of muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control, difficulty with motor movements (trouble standing), drunken feeling (might look and act like someone drunk), problems talking (slurred speech), nausea, can’t remember what happened while drugged, loss of consciousness (black out), confusion, problem seeing, dizziness, sleepiness, lower blood pressure, and death.
In addition, Rohypnol also causes a decrease in blood pressure; stomach and intestinal upset; and urinary retention. GHB is very potent and takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last 3 or 4 hours. A very small amount can have a big effect and so it is easy to overdose. Most of it is made by people in home or street ‘labs’ so one doesn’t know what is in it or its effects.
GHB can cause unusual relaxation, intense drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, respiratory depression, problem seeing, loss of consciousness (black out), seizures, temporary memory loss, difficult breathing, tremors, sweating, vomiting, slow heart rate, dream-like feeling, coma and death. Ketamine is very fast acting. The victim might be aware of what is happening but be unable to move. It also causes memory problem. Later, one might not be able to remember what happened when drugged.
Ketamine can also cause distorted perceptions of sight and sound, loss of sense of time and identity, out of body experiences, dream-like feeling, and feeling out of control, impaired motor function, problems breathing, convulsions, vomiting, memory problems, numbness, loss of coordination, aggressive or violent behavior, depression, high blood pressure and slurred speech. Some of these drugs are legal when lawfully used for medical purposes but that doesn’t mean that they are safe.
For instance, rohypnol where it is legal is prescribed for sleep problems and to assist anesthesia before surgery. Ketamine is used as an anesthetic for humans and animals but mostly animals while GHB is used to treat problems from narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). Since these drugs are powerful and can hurt, they should be used with a doctor’s order and care. There’s the Nigeria (factor) system to consider if one is to escape being a victim.
In order to protect one’s self from being a victim, the following tips are very helpful: Don’t accept drinks from other people; open containers yourself; keep your drink with you at all times even when you go to the bathroom; don’t share drinks; don’t drink from punch bowls or other common open containers- they may already have drugs in them. If someone offers to get you a drink from a bar or at a party, go with the person to order your drink.
Watch the drink being poured and carry it yourself; don’t drink anything that tastes or smell strange(sometimes GHB tastes salty); have a non drinking friend with you to make sure nothing happens; if you realize you left your drink unattended, throw it out. Lastly, if you feel drunk and haven’t drunk any alcohol or if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual, get help right away.