There are three major groups of drugs used in drug rape and other drink-spiking crimes: GHB, Ketamine and Benzodiazepines (which include Rohypnol and Valium).

All the drugs act as an anaesthetic that reduce a person's ability to resist rape or robbery and often causes the victim to cooperate with the criminal. After a few hours, the victim will fall asleep and wake up with little or no memory of what happened when she or he was under the influence of the drug. In addition, these drugs stay in the system for a relatively short time (as little as 12 hours for GHB) so that even if a victim wants to go to the police and press charges, the evidence will have disappeared.

This makes it very difficult to prosecute drug-rape crimes. There is no violence, the victim cannot remember what happened and the evidence of the crime has left the victim's system before she even realises that a crime has been committed. Thus, the only effective way to deal with drug rape and other drink-spiking crimes is to avoid getting drugged in the first place.

Here are specifics about each of the drugs. While this is a discussion of the use of these drugs in rape and other crimes, it is important to keep in mind that

These drugs, when taken inadvertently, can have serious consequences including coma and death.

GHB Often known as liquid ecstasy, GHB, is an odourless liquid with a slightly salty taste but when dissolved in drinks it's undetectable to it's victim by taste, smell, or appearance. A small capful has a euphoric effect, but more than that and it becomes a sedative. A little more and users feel disorientated and sick - too much leads to blackouts and possibly death. read more

ROHYPNOL Rohypnol comes as a dissolvable pill and is similarly clear, odourless and tasteless. It's a legitimate drug used in the short-term treatment of sleep disorders and is part of the Valium family. But it is ten times more potent and when abused leaves victims feeling extremely intoxicated, drowsy, confused, nauseous, with a loss of muscle control and suffering from blackouts. Mixing the drug with alcohol only serves to increase its effect, causing amnesia within ten minutes and sedation within 30 minutes. read more

KETAMINE The dissolvable white powder causes slurred speech, loss of coordination, dream-like feelings, distorted perceptions of sight and sound, loss of time and an impaired motor function. read more

GHB - Gamma Hydroxybutyrate
GHB is a central nervous system depressant abused for its ability to produce euphoric and hallucinatory states and, as some believe, acts like an anabolic steroid to stimulate muscle growth. GHB was originally available over-the-counter drug in the US but was made illegal there in 1990 due to overdoses and other health problems. It was made a Class C illegal drug in the UK in July 2002.

GHB takes effect within 10-20 minutes and lasts 1-3 hours.

Other street names for GHB are Grievous Bodily Harm, Georgia Home Boy, Scoop, Great Hormones at Bedtime, Soap, Easy Water, G-Riffick, Cherry Meth, Organic Quaalude, Jib, Liquid Ecstacy, Liquid X, the Easy Lay, Goop and Gamma-oh.

GHB was popular in body-building gyms for many years because its alleged steroid-like effects. It is still especially popular in clubs because it is a muscle relaxant that gives one the sense of well-being and mild euphoria similar to the effect of ecstasy.

GHB is not as widely known as ecstasy, but is more dangerous. The Drug Abuse Warning Network in the US reported—in 2000—more emergency room visits related to GHB than to ecstasy (4969 versus 4511, respectively).

GHB is easy to manufacture and a number of recipes for it can be found on the internet. As different amateur chemists will produce varying concentrations of the drug, and as people vary significantly in both body mass and drug tolerance, it is virtually impossible to determine a safe dosage of GHB. This makes the drug especially dangerous.

A review of the literature suggests the following dosages for a 250ml drink:
(1 gram = 1/5 of a teaspoon = 4000 ppm (parts per million)

SideEffect Light Standard Strong Heavy Overdose Coma Death
Dose (g) 0.75 - 1.75 1.75 - 2.75 2.75 - 4 5+ 6.25+ 8.75+ 10+

Many people have bad reactions to GHB. These effects can include disinhibition, sedation, hallucinations, desire to sleep, rambling speech, giddiness, silliness, difficulty thinking, slurred speech, loss of bladder control and passing out. The effects of an overdose can include deep sedation from which you cannot be awakened for about three hours, seizures, sudden and dangerous drop in blood pressure, heart rate or breathing, coma and death. The effects of GHB are exacerbated when taken with alcohol or other drugs. This makes it especially dangerous when used to spike an alcoholic drink.

Rohypnol is a legitimate drug used in the short-term treatment of sleep disorders, but has been abused for more sinister purposes.

It has been implicated in several date rape cases in the US, although there is no confirmed case of it being used in sexual assualt cases in the UK.

It is the brand name of flunitrazepam, and is a part of the Valium family. It is 10 times more potent.

The drug is not legally available in the US, but is in Europe and Mexico. In the UK it is only available on prescription, and it is illegal to possess it without one.  It can only be prescribed privately in the UK.

It rose to prominence as the date rape drug because it was colourless, odourless and tasteless - ideal for spiking drinks undetected - and causes sedation or euphoria in approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Several cases report the drug being given to women without their consent in order to remove their inhibitions.

However, Hoffman-Roche, the company that manufactures the drug, revised the formula in January 1998 to make it easier to detect.  It now contains a blue dye that will appear when it is added to any drink, and it is slower to dissolve.

Counterfeit versions of the drug have been reported in the US which do not have these added features.

Ketamine, or ketamine hydrochloride, is an anaesthetic intended primarily for veterinary purposes. Its primary use is in surgery for small animals and has also been used in human medicine for paediatric burn cases, in dentistry and in experimental psychotherapy. Ketamine is a liquid and its most potent medical use is by injecting it intramuscularly or intravenously.

Ketamine is becoming a popular recreational drug. It produces "disassociative anasthesia." The effect is often likened to the mind and body being separated from each other, or a near-death experience if taken in a sufficiently high dose. This effect is usually called a "K- hole."Effects can range from rapture to paranoia to boredom. It can render the user comatose.

Unlike GHB, dosages for Ketamine are well established:
(1 gram = 1/5 of a teaspoon = 4000 ppm (parts per million)

Side Effect Zero Low Light Common Strong K-Hole
Dose (mg) 0 40 50-100 75-300 200-450 500+
PPM 0 160 200-400 300-1200 800-1800 2000

 *All concentrations are calculated for a standard 250ml beverage.

Ketamine takes effect in 5-20 minutes and the effects last 4-8 hours. A human would reach a state of deep cataleptoid sedation (like a coma) with a dosage of 15mg/kg. Thus, for example, a 9-stone (126 lb, 57kg) woman would be completely sedated with a dosage of about 850mg.

Ketamine was popularised by the singer Madonna in 1998. Her "Ray of Light" album reputedly contains tracks that describe the Ketamine experience. In an interview in the March 1998 issue of Q Magazine, she commented that she couldn't believe that UK clubbers still preferred E to K.

Some of the street names for Ketamine are K, Ket, Special K, Vitamin K, Vit K, Kit Kat, Keller, Kelly's day, Green, Blind squid, Cat valium, Purple, Special la coke, Super acid and Super C. Slang for the K-hole include K-land, baby food and God.

The effects and dosages above assume that Ketamine is not mixed with alcohol or other drugs. In club or rave settings, overuse of ketamine has been known to cause collapses and lead to catatonic states. It is not a social drug like ecstasy and is, in fact, a depressant. Among other undesirable effects are nausea, vomiting and giddiness. In large doses and in combination with other central nervous system depressants, it can depress respiration and lead to death. Victims of drink spiking are especially at risk as they may be "on" other drugs while they ingest ketamine unknowingly.

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