25 December 2017 By Zawn Villines,  Reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD

Any drug that alters a person's consciousness in a way that makes self-defense or sound decision-making difficult can be a date rape drug.

Most estimates suggest that at least 25 percent or 1 in 4 of American women have been sexually assaulted or raped. Someone the victim knows, sometimes with the assistance of a date rape drug, commits most rapes.

Knowing the most common date rape drugs, their side effects, and the signs of a perpetrator planning to use one can prevent victimization.

Fast facts on date rape drugs:

  • Many people worry about a perpetrator adding a date rape drug to an alcoholic drink.
  • The primary sign of being drugged is a sudden, unexplained change in consciousness.
  • A person who thinks they may have been drugged should seek safety first and foremost.

Types and their side effects

Alcohol and benzodiazepines are commonly used date rape drugs, as they may cause physical weakness and loss of consciousness.

Date rape drugs make a sexual assault, including rape easier in one or more ways, such as:

  • making a victim more compliant and less able to say no
  • weakening a victim so they are unable to resist or fight back
  • making a victim fully or partially unconscious
  • weakening a victim's inhibitions, so they consent to sexual activity they may otherwise decline

Any drug that changes a potential victim's state of mind, including some prescription drugs, street drugs such as heroin, and popular drugs such as marijuana, can be a date rape drug.

The most common date rape drugs are:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Ketamine
  • GHB
  • Other date rape drugs

Any drug that changes a victim's consciousness can be used to facilitate date rape.

In some cases, the victim might even ingest the drug willingly. A person who uses heroin, for example, may be so intoxicated that they do not realize a perpetrator is attempting to rape them. People who use drugs should, therefore, avoid taking them around certain acquaintances or in settings that might facilitate date rape.

  1. Types
  2. Signs and symptoms
  3. What to do
  4. Protecting yourself
  5. Takeaway

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