South Korea is a self-proclaimed drug free country. And while it is true that it has relatively less illegal drug use compared to other countries drug-related crimes have been steadily increasing in Korea every year. In particular, the number of National Forensic Service investigations related to drug sex crimes has tripled over the last five years. The familiar scene of someone secretly slipping something into someone else’s drink is no longer relegated to the movies. It is swiftly becoming a reality for many.
🍷Defending your Drink
Most date rape crime occur in the presence of alcohol. This is because when people are drunk, their cognitive ability and attention are lowered, and so it is easier to secretly put the drugs into their glass. In addition, in cases were someone is drugged while drinking, most people will assume that the symptoms are those of the alcohol. Difficulty differentiating between intoxication from alcohol versus from drugs can make it hard to recognize a crime.
The use of these drugs is a felony, especially for the purpose of committing a sex crime, but also due to the harmful effects of the drugs themselves. Some of the drugs used may be legally prescribed, but most are purchased for criminal purposes through illegal channels. In other words, the seller is not a pharmacist or a doctor. They can mix the drug with impurities to stretch profits, and have no need to properly regulate dosages. On top of that, when mixed with alcohol and deviated from their original purpose these drugs are no different than poison. In fact, there have been several reported cases of permanent organ damage and death due to date rape drugs.
But this doesn’t mean you have to quit drinking forever! Instead, let’s have a closer look at the commonly used date rape drugs and their symptoms. We’re going to create a good foundation for defending yourself and others.
Types and Symptoms of Date Rape Drugs
The most commonly used date rape dugs worldwide are GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine.
✔︎ Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB)
- GHB is a drug that affects the central nervous system and can cause euphoria.
- GHB is highly addictive, and addiction symptoms can present within 2-3 weeks.
- Overdose or combination with alcohol can lead to a coma.
- Symptoms begin to appear 15-30 minutes after ingestion and can last for 3-6 hours.
- It is colorless and odorless, and distributed in liquid, powder and tablet forms.
✔︎ Rohypnol (Roofies)
- While it used to be colorless, tasteless and odorless in the past, recently Rohypnol is manufactured with a blue color to help prevent it’s use as a date rape drug. It is distributed as blue pills, or white pills which turn blue when dissolved in water.
- However, there may still be colorless pills in circulation, and it may be hard to see the blue color when they are placed in colored drinks.
- Symptoms begin to appear 30 minutes after ingestion and peak after about 2 hours.
- Even if only 1mg is consumed, symptoms can last for 8-12 hours.
- It is mostly distributed in tablet form.
✔︎ Ketamine (Special K)
- Originally used as a treatment for high risk depression, Ketamine can cause hallucinations or dizziness.
- Symptoms begin to appear within 30 minutes of ingestion and can last for 1-2 hours. In some cases, hallucinations can persist for over a day.
- It is distributed in the form of a white powder.
Ways to Avoid Date Rape Drug Attempts
The U.S Office on Women’s Health proposed the following methods to stay as safe as possible in regards to date rape drugs.
- Open your drinks personally. Avoid drinks that are already open or were opened by others.
- Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know well.
- Always carry your cup or drink with you. Don’t leave it anywhere, even if you’re just going to the bathroom.
- Don’t keep drinking if you notice a strange taste or smell, if the color is different to before, or if you notice residue in the bottom of the glass.
- Stick close to your friends. If you feel something wrong with your body, ask your friends for help.
If you’re not sure if you were drugged, or sexually assaulted
Date rape drugs are usually colorless, tasteless and odorless, put into peoples drinks without their knowledge causing weakness and intoxication. Especially when mixed with alcohol it can be difficult to ascertain whether memory-loss and confusion are a result of alcohol or illegal drugs.
In these situations, check the following.
- The hangover symptoms are worse than normal, and you don’t remember anything of the day before.
- Your clothes have tears or stains you don’t remember getting.
- You don’t remember taking off your clothes but you wake up without them.
- Your body feels like it does after sex, but you don’t remember having any.
- You have bruises, bleeding, pain, or scratches that you don’t recall.
If you find yourself in the above situation, you may have been drugged, and you may have been sexually assaulted without your knowledge. In this case what should you do? Let’s look at some options.
Date Rape Drug Victim Response Guide
It doesn’t matter if you’re completely confident about being date raped or not. If you suspect you might be a victim, consider following the guidelines below.
- Call emergency services or go to the hospital emergency room.
- Don’t brush your teeth, shower, wash your face, change your clothes or use the toilet. Try to refrain from eating or drinking as much as possible. Evidence of drugs or sexual assault could be affected by these actions.
- Report it to the police. Try to record as much as you can remember as soon as possible.
- Do a urine test as soon as possible. Rohypnol may be detected 72 hours after ingestion, but GHB can leave the system within 12 hours.
- Try to preserve the place where the sexual assault took place.
You might feel fear, shame, guilt or shock after a sexual assault. It’s a natural feeling and normal response. Even if you were drunk at the time, nothing justifies someone taking advantage of you without your consent. You are irrefutably the victim, and it’s not your fault.
‘Date Rape Drug’, a Vague Expression
While many people use the term ‘date rape drug’, in reality the perpetrator may not actually be dating the victim. Date rape drugs can be used by someone you know well, or someone you just happened to meet at the bar 30 minutes ago.
The use of ‘date rape drugs’ in sexual assault is known by experts as ‘Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault’. This focuses on the use of any drugs to sexually assault a victim, rather than the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim,
- Most date rape drugs are colorless, tasteless, and odorless, so we need to be vigilant in protecting our drinks.
- Follow the guide if you ever suspect you’ve been given a date rape drug, or been sexually assaulted.