March 7, 2011
Drug facilitated assault: when drugs or alcohol are used to compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. In addition, drugs and alcohol are often used in order to minimize the resistance and memory of the victim of a sexual assault.
Alcohol remains the most commonly used chemical in crimes of sexual assault, but there are also substances being used by perpetrators including: Rohypnol, GHB, GBL, etc.
Diminished capacity exists when an individual does not have the capacity to consent. Reasons for this inability to consent include, but are not limited to: sleeping, drugged, passed out, unconscious, mentally incapacitated, etc.
It is important to understand diminished capacity because oftentimes victims of sexual assault in these situations blame themselves because they drank, did drugs, etc. It is essential to emphasize that it is not his or her fault, that the aggressor is the one who took advantage of his or her diminished capacity.
Rohypnol is not approved for medical use in the United States. It is smuggled into the country and has become an increasingly popular street drug.
Street Names: Roofies, Roach, the Forget Pill, Circles, Mexican Valium, Rib, Roach-2, Roopies, Rophies, La Rochas, Rope, Poor Man’s Quaalude, Whiteys, Trip-and-Fall, Mind Erasers, Lunch Money, and R-2.
What is it?: A small white tablet that looks a lot like aspirin. It quickly disolves in liquid and can take effect within 30 minutes of being ingested. The effects peak within 2 hours and may have lingering effects for 8 hours or more.
GHB has not been approved by the FDA since 1990. Therefore, it is illegal for distribution and sale in the U.S.
Street Names: Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), Liquid X, Liquid E, G, Georgia Home Boys, Easy Lay, Cherry Meth, Soap, PM, Salt Water, Vita G, G-Juice, Great Hormones, Somatomax, Bedtime Scoop, Gook, Gamma 10, Energy Drink, and Goop.
What is it?: Pure GHB is commonly sold as a clear, odorless liquid or white crystalline powder. Because it is made in home labs, the effects are often unpredictable. Once ingested, GHB takes effect in approximately 15 minutes and can last 3-4 hours.
- Sedation of the body
- Intense drowsiness
- Hampered mobility
- Verbal incoherence
- Slowed heart rate
- Nausea, aspiration on own vomit
- Respiratory failure
- Seizure-like activity
- Coma, death
A GHB-like product, GBL is often sold under the guise of a dietary supplement or an industrial cleaner.
What is it?: When the body metabolizes GBL, it becomes twice as potent as GHB. It has a bitter taste that can easily be masked by strong-tasting drinks. GBL now comes in flavors such as lime, cinnamon, and cherry. Once ingested it takes approximately 30-45 minutes to take effect.
- Severe amnesia
- Nausea, aspiration on own vomit
- Respiratory arrest
- Loss of bowel control
NOTE: People who take GBL may act normally (i.e., may not appear intoxicated or sedated) but will have no memory of the time period. This effect can make it difficult for friends or acquaintances to identify that the individual has been drugged.
What is it? Commonly prescribed as anti-anxiety and sleeping medications in the United States, these drugs can be put into an alcoholic drink or soft drink in powder or liquid form. These are legal forms of Rohypnol.
What it does: Like the other drugs described above, Benzodiazepines can markedly impair and even abolish functions that normally allow a person to resist, or even want to resist, sexual aggression or assault.
GHB, GBL, Rohypnol, & Benzodiazepines
NOTE:For all of these drugs, alcohol increases the effects.
All four of these drugs have some common effects that make them appealing to perpetrators. These drugs are common weapons of sexual assault due to the combined efforts of the sedative effect and the memory-impairment qualities.
How they Work
- They are typically odorless, colorless, and tasteless when placed in liquid (except for GBL).
- 5-30 minutes after ingestion, the victim of the drugging may struggle to talk or to move and may eventually pass out.
- At this point the drugged individual is vulnerable to assault.
- A survivor of such an assault may have virtually no memory of the events that occurred.
Another factor that makes these drugs dangerous and difficult to detect is that they leave the body rapidly, leaving little time for detection.
- Rohypnol– leaves in 36-72 hours
- GHB– leaves in 10-12 hours
- GLB– leaves the urinary system within 6 hours and the blood stream within 24 hours.
Some Good News
The producers of Rohypnol have recently changed the chemistry of the pill so that it changes the color of clear drinks to bright blue and makes dark drinks go cloudy. It will, however, take a while for these new pills to hit the streets.
A dissociative general anesthetic that has stimulant, hallucinogenic, and hypnotic properties. It is usually used by veterinarians.
Street Names: K, K-Hole, Special K, Vitamin K, Purple, Psychedelic Heroin, Kit Kat, Jet, Bump, Black Hole.
What is it?: A fast-acting liquid that can be slipped into drinks. It can be used to sedate and incapacitate individuals in order to sexually assault them. Ketamine is especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
What it does: Ketamine causes individuals to feel detached from their bodies and their surroundings so that, while they may be aware of what is happening to them, they are unable to move or fight back. In addition it may cause amnesia so that they do not remember what happened.
- Impaired motor skills
- High blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Potentially fatal respiratory failure
A toxic hallucinogenic and stimulant that has psychedelic effects. It is illegal to sell or to produce in the United States.
Street Names: E, X, X-TC, M&Ms, Adam, CK, Clarity, Hug Drug, Lover’s Speed.
What is it?: Ecstasy is commonly sold as small pills or capsules and is also available in powder and liquid forms. It can be slipped into an individual’s drink in order to facilitate sexual assault.
What it does: Ecstasy causes individuals to feel extreme relaxation and positivity towards others while it increases sensitivity to touch. When under the influence of ecstasy individuals are less likely to be able to sense danger and it may leave them unable to protect themselves from attack.
- Increased blood pressure, pulse, and body temperature
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
- Heat stroke
- Heart failure
Information for this section was adapted from http://www.911rape.org and materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. This is published on RAINN.org.