Beware of drinks spiked with date-rape drugs on Valentine’s Day

“Celebrate responsibly and ensure that you take preventive action”

February 13, 2020, New Delhi:

One often hears cases of alleged rapes where the girl was given a drink and could not recall anything that may have happened to her. Once caught, the defense of the accused is that the girl was a party to the sexual act.  Such cases are the result of date rape drugs, used to spike soft drinks or alcoholic drinks. Their use is common during occasions such as Valentine’s Day. The need of the hour is to raise awareness and ensure precautions are taken.

The term “date rape drug” applies to any of the three drugs namely GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid), Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), popularly called “Roofies” and ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride). Rohypnol is legal in Europe and Mexico but is banned in the US and India.

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Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President HCFI and CMAAO, said, “Several factors make date-rape drugs desirable to sexual predators. They often have no color, smell or taste and can be easily slipped into drinks and food without the victim’s knowledge. They are very fast acting and all traces of the drugs leave the body within 72 hours of intake. They can also not be found in any routine toxicology screen or blood test. The victim is rendered unconscious but responsive with little or no memory of what happens while the drug is active in their system. They act without inhibition and it hampers their ability to make rational decisions.”

A little precaution and presence of mind can go a long way in averting any untoward incidents. Here are some preventive steps you can follow on Valentine’s Day:

  • Don’t accept any drinks from other people, except trusted friends. Open containers yourself.
  • Keep your drink with you always, even when you go to the washroom.
  • Don’t share drinks. Don’t drink from punch bowls or other large, common, open containers. They may already have drugs in them.
  • Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Sometimes, GHB tastes salty.
  • Have a non-drinking friend with you to make sure nothing happens (if you are consuming alcohol).
  • If you think that you have been drugged and raped: Go to the police station or hospital right away. Get a urine test as soon as possible. The drugs leave your system quickly. Rohypnol leaves your body 72 hours after you take it. GHB leaves the body in 12 hours. Don’t urinate before getting help. Don’t douche, bathe, or change clothes before getting help. These things may give evidence of the rape.

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