Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault By Kaitlyn Timmerman

Our intern, Kaitlyn, blogs about what she has learned about drug facilitated sexual assault:

As part of STSM training, volunteer advocates learn about Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault. Many people, especially those in college, have been told the dangers of date-rape drugs. Many people don’t know the signs indicating someone may have been drugged. The main purpose of date-rape drugs is to minimize resistance, and prevent any memories of the attack and the attacker. Three common date rape drugs are: rohypnol (“roofies”), GHB, and Ketamine. These drugs have similar effects that cause the central nervous system to slow down.  The symptoms take effect quickly, as fast as fifteen minutes.  Common reactions include dizziness, nausea, decrease in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.  Rohypnol and GHB are illegal drugs, but Ketamine is a legal anesthetic used in veterinary clinics. 

There are many other substances that have been used in drug-facilitated sexual assault. Diphenhydramine, which is found in Dramamine and Benadryl, has been used to cause drowsiness. Synthetic stimulants like those labeled “bath salts” are very dangerous and have become popular recently.  “Bath Salts” can cause severe paranoia, as well as hallucinations, extreme anxiety, and confusion. This drug gives users both a stimulant and hypnotic effect.

The most popular substance though, by far, is alcohol. It’s legal for those over 21 and is the number one substance used in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. If you think you have experienced drug facilitated sexual assault, the most important thing is to seek medical attention immediately.  Substances used in drug facilitated sexual assault often exit the blood stream in a matter of hours and can be difficult to trace.  The substances can also cause serious side effects that require medical treatment or observation.  Often survivors feel they have done something to cause the assault by being out or trusting the wrong person, but the assailant is the ONLY person who bears responsibility for the assault.