Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

Drugs used by perpetrators to incapacitate and rape people exist in the University of Michigan community and are on the rise.  The most common rape drug is alcohol. However, this page provides information on two other commonly-used drugs and their effects:  Rohypnol and Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB).  Perpetrators often use rape drugs in order to put a person in a more vulnerable state.  It is important to remember that survivors of sexual violence are NEVER TO BLAME for the assault.  The person who chose to commit the assault is to blame.  Please contact the SAPAC office (734) 764-7771 or the SAPAC 24/7 crisis line at (734) 936-3333 or refer to “Options if You Have Been Sexually Assaulted” for more information.
 

Rohypnol

Common Street Names: Roofies, Ruffies, Rope, Pinga, Roche, R-2 and Rib.

Description:

  • Tranquilizer (similar in nature to Valium)
  • Tasteless, colorless
  • Usually a pill in bubble packaging
  • Can  be dissolved into ANY type of drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic
  • Best time frame for testing is within 36 hours of ingestion
  • Manufactured by Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc.
  • Not approved by FDA for use in the United States

Effects:

  • Sedation occurs 20-30 minutes after ingestion
  • Sedation effect lasts for 8-12 hours with a hangover effect for up to three days
  • Amnesia effect for approximately 8 hours
  • Range of effects: slurred speech, little or no coordination, amnesia, bloodshot eyes,  walking alcohol blackout (in a stimulating environment or passed out (in an  unstimulating environment), when mixed with alcohol it can lead to respiratory  depression, aspiration, or death

 

Gamma Hydroxy Butrate (GHB)

Common Street Names: Liquid X,  Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Grievous Bodily Harm

Description:

  • Commonly used at parties and/or "raves" as a way to get high
  • Central nervous system depressant
  • Nondescript odor, Colorless
  • Can be in liquid or pill form
  • Is often carried in small bottles (Visine, prescription bottles, etc.)
  • Can be dissolved into ANY type of drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic
  • Salty, sometimes caustic taste
  • Evidence of the drug lasts for a very short time--in blood for about 4 hours and in urine for about 12 hours
  • Illegal drug--possession is a felony

Effects:

  • Can render someone unconscious with as little as 1 teaspoon mixed into a drink
  • Onset  of symptoms within 5 minutes, reaching full strength within 15 minutes
  • Combining  with alcohol is very dangerous, and can be lethal
  • Range  of effects: confusion, nausea, visual disturbances, memory loss,  unconsciousness, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, petit mal epileptic-type  seizures, incoherent speech, coma, severe respiratory arrest, short term memory  lapse, death

 

Tactics Used By Perpetrators

If someone is trying to slip it in another\'s drink, they will often encourage them to have a drink that they never tried before.  Among others, common "suggestions" are Long Island Iced Tea, Margarita, or cinnamon liqueur.  If a person has not had that type of drink before, they will often not question the unusually salty or caustic taste.  If you think someone slipped one of these drugs into your drink and you go to a hospital emergency room, you will have to ask to be tested for Rohypnol or GHB specifically.

 

Cautionary Suggestions

  • Only take drinks from the bartender/waitstaff
  • Watch the bartender make your drink
  • Do not accept open-container drinks
  • Be aware of the behavior of your friends (i.e., if a friend looks disproportionately intoxicated for the number of drinks she has consumed)
  • Be aware of your glass/cup while drinking
  • When hosting a party, avoid having punchbowls/trash can containers that can be easily adulterated
  • Remember that GHB and Rohypnol can be put into non-alcoholic drinks