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Drug Information

GHB 1
GHB is colourless, odourless, and when diluted is virtually tasteless. Considered a “date rape drug.”

Ketamine 1
Ketamine is manufactured as a liquid. Source: DEA

QUICK FACTS – GHB AND DATE RAPE DRUGS

Date rape drugs are drugs that render a victim helpless and vulnerable to sexual assault. Sexual assault includes any type of physical contact that occurs without the consent of the victim and can include inappropriate touching, penetration, rape, and attempted rape.

Date rape drugs are powerful sleeping pills that leave a victim extremely drowsy, even to the point of sleep. When victims awake from the date rape drug, they cannot remember how they arrived, where they were left or the rape event itself. In social events where drinking occurs, party-goers are warned to:

  1. never accept a drink from a stranger
  2. never leave a drink unattended even for brief periods
  3. bring your drink to the dance floor when dancing
  4. stay close to your friends as a deterrent to a potential perpetrator
  5. avoid wide-rimmed drinks such as margaritas and daiquiris
  6. avoid becoming drunk as perpetrators often prey on vulnerable individuals

 

Do not count on taste or smell to determine if your drink has been drugged because date rape drugs are often colourless, odourless, and quickly dissolved.

There are at least three date rape drugs:

  • GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid)
  • Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
  • Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride)

As these same drugs can also be used for robbery and other violent crimes, men are also warned to follow the same safeguards. Be especially careful when on holiday as the date rape drug Rohypnol is common in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Alcohol is often called a date rape drug since it lowers inhibition. However, it is not included here since it only has the same sedative and memory loss effect when consumed excessively and, thus, does not have the same ability to trick the victim.

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1. ROHYPNOL

Commercial and Street Names

Flunitrazepam, forget-me pill, Mexican Valium, R2, Roche, roofies, rope, rophies

The White House has a longer list of street terms for Rohypnol.

Description of Rohypnol

Rohypnol is also a benzodiazepine used as a sleeping pill but is not approved in Canada or the United States. Legally available in 64 countries but smuggled primarily from Mexico, Rohypnol is odourless, colourless, and tasteless.

Sources: DEA; NIDA InfoFacts, Rohypnol and GHB, May 2006

2. KETAMINE

See the Hallucinogens section.

3. GHB

Commercial and Street Names

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, gamma hydroxybutyric acid, G, Georgia home boy, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy.

drugfree.org has an additional list of street terms for GHB.

Description of GHB

GHB is predominantly a depressant. GHB can be produced in clear liquid, white powder, tablet, and capsule forms. It is colorless and odourless. GHB has a salty taste; however it is often diluted in liquids and virtually undetectable. GHB is often manufactured in homes with recipes and kits found and purchased on the Internet.

Effects of GHB

At lower doses, GHB can relieve anxiety and produce relaxation. Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and difficulty breathing. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating.

As the dose increases, the sedative effects may result in sleep and eventual coma or death. GHB has reportedly been used in cases of “date rape” (see Rohypnol).

Sources: DEA; NIDA InfoFacts, Rohypnol and GHB, May 2006

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RESOURCES

I. PRINT RESOURCES

GHB History and Date Rape Drugs

GHB and Analogs: High Risk Club Drugs(2006) describes the history of GHB, why it was banned in 1991, and the dangers and complications that can result from using it. Marie Wolf

GHB, Parenting and Date Rape Drugs

Unglued & Tattooed: How To Save Your Teen from Raves, Ritalin, Goth, Body Carving, GHB, Sex and 12 Other Emerging Threats (2003) Sara Trollinger

GHB, Research and Date Rape Drugs

Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Drugs of Abuse and Neurotoxicity: Cocaine, GHB, and Substituted Amphetamines (Annals of the New YorkAcademy of Sciences) (2006) Sayed Ali, Francesco Fornai, and Yossef Itzhak

GHB, Treatment and Date Rape Drugs

The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Ghb Dependence: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age (2002) Icon Health Publications

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II. ONLINE RESOURCES

GHB General Information and Date Rape Drugs

Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB) (January 2013) Drug Enforcement Administration

GHB, Impaired Driving and Date Rape Drugs

GHB – Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets is a detailed fact sheet on effects of GHB use, particularly on performance and driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

GHB Research and Date Rape Drugs

Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB) in the United States (April 2007) suggests that there has been an increase in the abuse of GHB since 1992, primarily in the western region of the US. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Ketamine and Date Rape Drugs

See the Hallucinogens section.

Rohypnol and Date Rape Drugs

Rohypnol and Other Date Rape Drugs (March 2004) US Department of Health and Human Services, womenshealth.gov.

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III. VIDEO RESOURCES

Warning: some of the images in the videos that follow are considered graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.

GHB is considered a more dangerous drug than ecstasy, especially when combined with alcohol. BBC News.

Follow Daniel Jordan, our director, for more information.