UW-Green Bay Counseling and Health Center
face of woman Sexual Assault
  Rape Drugs

  What are "rape drugs?"
Alcohol continues to be the number one substance or "drug" involved in reports of sexual assault. However, there are certain drugs, such as Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine, are sometimes called "Rape Drugs" because they can be used as a weapon in sexual assault crimes. When the drugs are hidden in a drink, they may be completely undetectable. Yet, they are powerful and dangerous. They can seriously harm or even kill you. The drugs are usually slipped into a victim's drink without the victim's knowledge or consent. When the drugs dissolve in the drink, they are colorless and odorless. Sometimes the drugs are also tasteless. You can't tell that you are being drugged. The drugs can make you confused, weak, and/or unconscious. They put you at risk for sexual assault. Many of these drugs are also known as "club drugs" - they are used at raves, clubs, and concerts. Some rapists use these drugs to overpower and incapacitate their victims to facilitate a sexual assault. These crimes are sometimes called "drug-facilitated sexual assaults."


Not everyone is affected the same way. It is difficult to predict the exact effects of any drug on a particular individual. The effects may vary depending upon the drug, the dose you ingest, and whether the drug is mixed with alcohol or other drugs. Other factors that influence how a particular drug will affect you are your weight, gender, metabolism, and other issues, such as how soon you receive medical assistance. There is one thing you can be sure of - the danger of serious and harmful effects is greatly increased when drugs like Rohypnol, GHB, Ecstasy, and Ketamine are ingested in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
  • Feeling a lot more intoxicated than your usual response to the amount of alcohol you consumed

  • Waking up very hung over, feeling "fuzzy," experiencing memory lapse, and being unable to account for a period of time

  • Remembering taking a drink but being unable to recall what happened for a period of time after you consumed the drink

  • Feeling as though someone had sex with you, but being unable to remember any or all of the incident


Rohypnol is the brand name for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine drug in the same family of medications as Valium and Xanax. However, unlike these other drugs, Rohypnol has never been approved for any medical use in the United States. It is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess Rohypnol in this country Rohypnol is most commonly found in tablet form, but can also be found in liquid form. It may be a small, round, white pill. When slipped into a drink, the pill dissolves and becomes invisible. Or, it may be oval-shaped and green-gray in color. These pills may have a dye in them that can make them more visible in certain drinks. But, you may not be able to see the color in a dark drink (coke or dark beer) or in a dark room.

Effects of Rohypnol
Rohypnol is a potent sedative. The physical effects of the drug may be noticeable within twenty to thirty minutes after ingestion. The effects may last for many hours.

Rohypnol may cause drowsiness, confusion, impaired motor skills, dizziness, disorientation, disinhibition, impaired judgment, and reduced levels of consciousness. You may look and act like someone who is drunk. Your speech may be slurred, and you may have difficulty standing or walking. Or, you may be rendered completely unconscious.

It is very dangerous to mix Rohypnol with alcohol or other drugs. The combination can produce extremely low blood pressure, respiratory depression, difficulty breathing, coma, or even death.

One of the most disturbing effects of Rohypnol is that it can cause complete or partial "anterograde" amnesia (absence of memory for the events that occur after it is ingested). This means that you may not be able to remember what was done to you while you were under the influence of the drug, which may have been for a significant period of time. This "amnestic" effect is especially likely when Rohypnol is ingested with alcohol.


GHB is gamma-hydroxybutyrate. Historically, GHB has been promoted for body building, although the efficacy of the drug for this use has never been documented. In 1990, the FDA issued a general warning to consumers to stop using GHB because of its numerous deleterious effects. The only current FDA-approved medical use of GHB (Xyrem) is restricted for the treatment of patients with a rare neurological disorder called Narcolepsy who experience cataplexy, a condition characterized by weak or paralyzed muscles. GHB is usually a clear liquid that is colorless and odorless. It is also produced as a white crystalline powder, and in a tablet/capsule form.

Effects of GHB
GHB is a powerful synthetic drug that has euphoric and sedative effects. It acts as depressant on the central nervous system. It is rapidly metabolized by the body. The effects of the drug can be felt within fifteen to twenty minutes after ingestion.

GHB can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, seizures, respiratory depression, and intense drowsiness. In some cases, GHB causes unconsciousness or coma. As a result, you may not be able to recall what happened to you while you were under the influence of the drug. When GHB is ingested with alcohol or other drugs, the consequences may be life threatening. Without immediate and appropriate medical care, the results may be fatal.

Several characteristics of GHB make it especially dangerous: First, it takes a very small amount (e.g., a few drops, a capful) to have a big effect. It is easy to overdose. Second, when GHB is used alone, or when it is mixed with alcohol and other drugs, it may cause death. Third, most of the GHB being used today is the "homegrown" variety. It is made by non-professionals in their own "street labs," kitchens, or bathtubs by mixing various chemical ingredients. There may be significant differences in the purity, concentration, and potency of various batches. The same amount taken from two separate batches may have very different effects.


Ketamine is a dissociative general anesthetic. It has hypnotic, stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. Although it is used in some medical settings, it is primarily used by veterinarians to anesthetize animals for surgery. It is also used recreationally, and known on the streets as a "club drug." Ketamine can be a liquid (that can be slipped into drinks, injected, or put on material that is smoked) or a powder (that can be slipped into drinks, smoked, snorted, or sometimes used in combination with other drugs).

Effects of Ketamine
Ketamine is fast acting. It can cause dizziness, confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, agitation, impaired motor skills, high blood pressure, and potentially fatal respiratory failure. Because of its dissociative effects, you may feel detached from your own body and your surroundings, a state sometimes referred to as "conscious sedation." You may be aware of what is happening to you, but unable to move. You may lose consciousness abruptly. Ketamine can also produce depression and amnesia. It is especially dangerous when it is mixed with alcohol or other drugs.


Ecstasy is 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). It is a very toxic stimulant and hallucinogenic drug. Ecstasy also has psychedelic effects. It is illegal to manufacture, possess, or sell Ecstasy. It is made in other countries and produced illegally in the United States. Ecstasy comes in a small tablet or capsule form and as a powder that can be snorted or smoked. Occasionally it is found in liquid form. It is made by many different vendors. Each vendor may use a different logo or color. Some of the frequently used logos include butterflies, lightening bolts, and four-leaf clovers.

Effects of Ecstasy
Ecstasy increases pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature. It can cause muscle spasms and teeth grinding. Because it suppresses the need to eat, drink, or sleep, it enables users to dance for long time periods. These effects, combined with the hot, crowded conditions at most rave parties, can lead to extreme dehydration and heart or kidney failure. The most dangerous, life-threatening effect is "hyperthermi" (excessive body heat). Death may result from heat stroke or heart failure. Ecstasy may produce nausea, hallucinations, chills, sweating, tremors, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, strokes, and seizures. Ecstasy can reduce anxiety and produce a feeling of extreme relaxation. It enhances your sense of touch and may make you have extremely positive feelings for others, regardless of who they are. It may take away your ability to sense danger and leave you unable to protect yourself.

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