A beware sign in red

Drugs are inherently dangerous for a multitude of reasons. One danger typically overlooked is the ability of many drugs to make someone susceptible to sexual assault or rape without their knowledge or consent. To make matters worse, some of these drugs are popular recreational substances that many are willing to take.

Often times, these drugs lower inhibitions. These drugs are given the blanket term ‘date rape drugs’, and knowledge of them is crucial to protecting yourself or a loved one.

Here we provide a list of the most common date rape drugs that everyone should watch out for.

Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, etc.)

Benzodiazepines are medications commonly prescribed to treat panic and anxiety-related disorders. Benzodiazepines include medications such as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and others. These drugs are abused for their alcohol-like side effects. In recent years, the number of benzodiazepine prescriptions has skyrocketed, which means they are readily available.  (1) (2)

Most importantly, in large doses they cause blackouts, which make them highly dangerous as date rape drugs. Blackouts are temporary conditions that result in significant memory lapses.

They are often characterized by lost time, or an inability to remember certain periods of time. These make the various benzodiazepines one of the most common classes of drugs used for date rape. (3)

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate)

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (or GHB for short) is a central nervous system depressant that is known to cause euphoria and sedation in those who abuse it. While GHB is often times used deliberately for its recreational effects, it is also commonly used as a date rape drug.

GHB is dangerous as a date rape drug for several reasons. First, GHB is a clear, odorless, and nearly tasteless substance that can easily be spiked into drinks. Second, GHB has the ability to lower inhibitions, induce memory loss, and to cause blackouts.

To make matters worse, some individuals willingly take GHB for its effects. These make GHB one of the most dangerous date rape drugs out there today. (4)

Ambien (Zolpidem)

Ambien is a prescription medication commonly prescribed to treat insomnia by inducing sleep. (5) Ambien is readily available and was 40th most common prescription in the United States so far in 2019. (6) Even at therapeutic doses, Ambien can cause someone to lose consciousness.

Ambien also is known to cause blackouts in some people, further increasing its dangers as a date rape drug. (7) This effect coupled with the relative availability of Ambien has caused it to become a popular and dangerous date rape drug.

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Rohypnol (aka roofie)

Rohypnol (generic name Flunitrazepam) is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine that is used medically in some parts of the world for insomnia, as a muscle relaxant, and to treat anxiety. Rohypnol has developed several street names over the years, including Circles, Forget Me Pill, La Rocha, Lunch Money Drug, Mexican Valium, Pingus, R2, Roach 2, Ruffies, Rophies, and Wolfies.

Its ability to cause amnesia, passing out, and blackouts has caused rohypnol to be frequently used in date rape cases. Because of these concerns, rohypnol is no longer medically used in the United States. (8)

Alcohol

While popular culture tends to make us think of various drugs as being the most common forms of date rape, this is actually not the case. The reality is that alcohol is actually the most common date rape drug reported. Approximately half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol, which far exceeds any of the prior examples given. (9)

Alcohol has a well-established ability to lower inhibitions, cause memory loss, and to induce blackouts. Furthermore, the victims of alcohol-facilitated sexual assault are often times willing to drink alcohol. This makes alcohol the most commonly used date rape drug currently. (10)

So how can I protect myself and loved ones from date rape?

The reality is that an astonishing number of sexual assault cases in the United States typically involve the victim being intoxicated. Therefore, it is essential to protect yourself when in high-risk date rape situations. The following are a few techniques that may help reduce the chances of becoming a victim (11):

  • Never accept an open drink or one in which you did not watch being made
  • Always keep your eye on your drink
  • If you feel any warning signs of being drugged, such as confusion, sedation, etc- immediately seek help
  • Stick with close trusted friends in high-risk situations
  • Never leave your drink unattended, even if going to the restroom, to dance, etc
  • Stay informed!

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


Sources:

  1. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/date-rape-drugs
  2. https://www.medicalbag.com/medicine/addiction-benzodiazepines-prescription-drug-problem/article/748515/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/what-causes-blackouts
  4. http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/ghb.asp
  5. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a693025.html
  6. https://clincalc.com/DrugStats/Top300Drugs.aspx
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8693299
  8. https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/rohypnol
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359178903000119
  10. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-body
  11. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2018-07/DFSA_0.PDF