Party on, but party safe: What you should know about date-rape drugs
It’s that time when we let our hair — and our guard — down and celebrate with family and friends; but while we toast to our health, it’s important to be mindful of our drinks and our safety.
Getting “slipped a mickey” may sound like something you hear in the movies, but according to the U.S. Department of Justice, drug rape is one of the fastest-growing, drug-facilitated, sexual assault crimes in America today. Why? Because date rape drugs can be slipped into your drink when you are not looking. They often have no color, smell or taste, so you can’t tell if you are being drugged. Date rape drugs can make you become weak and confused — or even pass out — so that you are unable to refuse sex or defend yourself. Further, if you are drugged, you might not remember what happened while you were drugged.
Top 3 most common date rape drugs
Rohypnol: The effects of Rohypnol can be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours. If you are drugged, you might look and act like someone who is drunk. You might have trouble standing. Your speech might be slurred. Or you might pass out. It is not legal in the United States.
GHB: This drug takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last three or four hours. It is very potent — a very small amount can have a big effect, so it’s easy to overdose on GHB. Most GHB is made by people in home or street “labs,” so you don’t know what’s in it or how it will affect you. It is legal in the United States to treat problems from narcolepsy.
Ketamine: Very fast-acting. You might be aware of what is happening to you but unable to move. It also causes memory problems. Later, you might not be able to remember what happened while you were drugged. It is legal in the United States for use as an anesthetic for humans and animals.
Never wander off by yourself in a social setting; stick together in a group. Don’t leave your drink unattended — even for a few seconds! Keep a date rape drug testing coaster in your purse or wallet. If you feel you have been drugged, Kathleen Baty, CEO of SafetyChick Enterprises, suggests getting to a hospital immediately and calling the police on the way. “Tell them you have been slipped a drug. Since the drugs don’t stay in your system long, ask for a urine/blood test right when you get to the hospital and have them put it aside for the police. If you can, bring the tainted drink/glass with you for evidence,” she wrote in her blog.
You can purchase drug-testing coasters, which can detect the three most common drugs listed above, anywhere online, including Safetychick.com and Justyellfire.org, for cheap. Using a straw or your finger, put a drop of your drink onto the coaster. If the tester changes color, you’ve been drugged. So simple, yet effective — give them out to friends!
To learn more and to empower yourself and your friends, check out Justyellfire.org. Founded in 2006 by Dallas Jessup, then in high school, Just Yell Fire has grown into a 1.8 million girl revolution across 66 countries. It offers two stay-safe films for girls and young women that you can download for free and ways in which you can learn self-defense to ward off any attacker like a pro.