RSS

Date Rape Drugs: Stealthy and Dangerous

12 Oct

The so-called date rape drugs are dangerous and treacherous. For the most part they are tasteless and odorless and can easily be added to food or drink without the victim knowing. Andrew Luster used GHB. Others used Rohypnol or ecstasy. Still others have employed the rave drug ketamine. Each of these has the potential to render the victim very compliant while appearing more or less normal. That’s the danger. Their friends at the bar, where the victim has surreptitiously received one of these drugs, might not know that she is anymore intoxicated than a couple of drinks might do. They might think she’s simply having fun. They might think the guy she walks out the door with is harmless. That’s not always the case.

 

Andrew Luster

 

Such a situation might be part of the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in Pitt Meadows, Vancouver, Canada. It turns out that the girl was at a party, a rave, where she might have been slipped one of these drugs. Regardless, she was apparently assaulted by several boys and suffered significant trauma. If that weren’t bad enough photographs of the assault were shared on Facebook where they went viral across the Internet. The rape victim was thus raped again.

 

Then yesterday, I came across a similar scenario that occurred at Central Washington University this past weekend. Apparently some substance was slipped into the drinks of as many as 12 students at a party and many became ill. Was this a stupid prank? Was this part of some planned sexual assault? It’s too early to know the motive or if the substance employed was one of these drugs, but it surely is suspicious. It will be interesting to follow this one.

I have an article on these drugs on my website but here are a few details about these dangerous chemicals:

Rohypnol (Street Names: Roofies, Roaches, Rope, Mexican Valium) is a benzodiazepine sedative in the same family as Valium and was developed to treat insomnia. It is no longer manufactured nor approved for use in the US, but is available in Mexico and many other countries. It is typically found as white tablets that can be crushed and dissolved in any liquid. Roofies cause sedation, confusion, euphoria, loss of identity, dizziness, blurred vision, slowed psychomotor performance, and amnesia. The victim has poor judgment, a feeling of sedated euphoria, and poor, if any, memory of events. Victims may suddenly “wake up” or “reenter reality” hours later with vague or no memory of what has happened.

Ecstasy (Street Names: E, X, XTC, MDMA, Love, Adam) was originally patented in 1914 as an appetite suppressant but was never marketed. It is made in underground labs and distributed in pill or capsule form. It has amphetamine (speed-like) as well as hallucinogenic effects. The user has enhanced sensations and feelings of empathy, a mood lift, increased energy, and occasionally profound spiritual experiences or an equally profound and irrational fear reaction. As with Rohypnol the victim is often compliant and has no memory for what transpires while under the influence of the drug.

GHB (Street Names: G, XTC, E, Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid E, Easy Lay, Goop, Scoop, Georgia Homeboy) was developed over 30 years ago and was sold as a “natural” food supplement and muscle builder. It comes as a white powder that easily dissolves in water, alcohol, and other liquids. Currently, it is often found as “Liquid E,” a colorless, odorless liquid that is sold in small vials. Often when someone buys ecstasy, they are given GHB instead. And vice versa. The buyer often does not know exactly what he or she is getting.

The effects of GHB appear quickly, five to 20 minutes after ingestion, and typically last for two to three hours. It causes loss of inhibitions, euphoria, drowsiness, and, when combined with alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and many other drugs, increases the effects of these drugs. Many kids use it to enhance the effect of alcohol for a “cheap drunk.” Users report that GHB makes them feel happy, sensual, and talkative. They might experience giddiness, drowsiness, amnesia, an increased sense of well-being, enhanced sensuality, and sometimes hallucinations. And as with the other drugs in this group, memory might be impaired.

Ketamine (Street Names: K, Special K, Kit-Kat, Purple, Bump) is a rapid acting intravenous or intramuscular anesthetic agent that causes sedation and amnesia. It was a common surgical anesthetic agent in the 1970’s but fell from favor in part due to its unpredictable hallucinogenic and psychiatric side effects. It is still occasionally used medically in burn victims since it tends to “dissociate” the patient from the pain, making the intense discomfort of burns more bearable. It is popular in veterinary medicine as an animal sedative, leading to another popular street name, Cat Valium. Ketamine is often stolen from animal hospitals and clinics.

Ketamine comes as a liquid, which when injected acts as a general anesthetic. It is often heated in a microwave or on a stove top to evaporate the liquid, leaving behind a white powder residue. This powder can then be added to any liquid, compacted into pills, or snorted, which is the preferred and most common method of usage. Its effects appear very quickly and last for a couple of hours. They include dissociation from reality, hallucinations, compliance, and loss of memory for events that occur under its influence.

A question I often get from mystery writers is what drug could be used to overpower someone or make them compliant so they can be kidnapped or taken away or what ever the story requires. The date rape drugs are always a good choice for the writer in the circumstances. While narcotics can render the victim unconscious, this requires that the perpetrator carry the victim and this is often not possible in the story. These drugs make the victim very compliant yet ambulatory and therefore work well for this purpose.

In the real world, the treachery lies with the same effects. The victim might appear normal, might laugh and joke with friends, might seem to be in full control of her faculties, when in fact, the opposite is the case.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2010 in Interesting Cases, Poisons & Drugs

 

14 responses to “Date Rape Drugs: Stealthy and Dangerous

  1. JoAnn Haberer

    October 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Are these drugs apparent in a body during autopsy? If so, for how long would the victim test positive if the body wasn’t found for, say, a few days?
    Thanks for ALL the wonderful information you post, Doug. You provide an invaluable service to writers.
    JoAnn

    Like

     
    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      October 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      Yes they can be found with toxicological testing. Previous GHB use can sometimes be found in the hair.

      Like

       
      • Shari

        February 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm

        Say someone managed to keep a sample of a drink (say a beer) into which someone slipped one of these drugs. Would toxicological testing be able to pick up traces of the drug after a period of say, two months? (crazy plot point!)
        Your blog is so informative – thank you for your time and expertise.

        Like

         
      • D.P. Lyle, MD

        February 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm

        Maybe, maybe not. It could go either way.

        Like

         
  2. Digital Dame

    October 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Scary stuff. Scary people.

    Would any of these cause the victim to suffer migraine-like headaches?

    Like

     
    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      October 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      Any of them could cause a residual headache but not likely a true migraine though X has amphetamine properties and this class of drugs can precipitate migraines in those that are prone to them.

      Like

       
  3. Bob Doerr

    October 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing some great info, again.

    Like

     
  4. Carly Carson

    October 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Interesting and scary. Thanks. (I guess Andrew Luster is well known, but I’ve never heard of him.)

    Like

     
  5. Petrea

    October 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve read many of your posts but this is my first comment. Your blog is an example of what blogging should be. Truly fascinating stuff, thank you.

    Like

     
  6. Burl Barer

    October 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    As someone who is familiar with MDMA (my Dr turned me on to it when it was legal — for therapeutic purposes, of course) it wouldn’t fare well as a date rape drug. I could see someone employing it for “enhanced seduction” much as one might use soft lights, music, and a chilled bottle of champagne, but it simply isn’t going to knock anyone out and leave them with a memory lapse. One as yet unemployed method of inducing unconsciousness on a date is to take the victim to an Amway presentation. Trust me, a combination of intense boredom and anxiety stimulates sexual response while inducing near anesthetic theta brain wave levels.

    Like

     
    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      October 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      Actually there are cases where it was employed. It is a hallucinogen so alters perceptions, judgement, and scrambles memory. And of course when someone buys E they often get GHB instead. But it might not be as potent in memory blocking as is Rohypnol.

      Like

       
  7. Pete Aldin

    February 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Dr Lyle, if someone suspected they’d ingested GHB, could they counter it with an epipen before passing out? (IE, prevent themselves passing out).

    Like

     
    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      February 12, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Most folks who ingest GHB don’t “pass out.” They might not remember much but they are mostly functional. Adrenalin in the form of EpiPen or any other form wouldn’t change things.

      Like

       

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: