Whether you’re at a party or just hanging out, it’s possible that someone—someone you know or someone you don’t—may slip something into your drink that can hurt you.
If someone slips drugs into your drink, taking drugs isn’t a choice you make. There are things you should know—and things you should do—to keep yourself safe.
What Drugs are Most Often Used for Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault?
Although there are many substances that can cause you to pass out or lose control, certain drugs are referred to as “sexual assault” (or “date-rape”) drugs because sexual predators often use them to get control over their victims. These drugs include gamma hydroxybutric acid (GHB), Rohypnol, ketamine, and Ecstasy. Drinking a beverage spiked with one or more of these drugs can take away your ability to fight back and your memory of what was done to you.
A person who sexually assaults another person uses these drugs because they’re easy to slip into a drink. They’re tasteless, odorless, and colorless. Also, these drugs act fast and leave your system quickly, so if the assault isn’t reported right away, it may be too late to test for the drugs. And the drugs aren’t part of a routine screening, so unless the doctor knows to test for these specific drugs, they won’t show up in the results. All this makes it difficult to conduct a criminal investigation.
Because these drugs can affect victims’ memory, they may not remember the details or even be able to identify the person who assaulted them. In some cases, victims don’t know what happened until much later.
- Don’t drink from a can or bottle that you didn’t open yourself
- Don’t take a drink from a punch bowl
- Don’t drink from a container that’s being passed around
- If someone offers you a drink from the bar at a club or party, don’t take it. Instead, go to the bar to order your own drink, watch it being poured, and carry the drink yourself.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call
- If you realize that your drink has been left unattended, throw it out and get a new one
- Don’t drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance, like a salty taste or unexplained residue
- Don’t mix drugs and alcohol. Even over-the-counter drugs like cold medicine can react with alcohol and other substances in negative ways.
- Watch out for your friends and ask them to watch out for you. Have a plan to periodically check up on each other.
- If your friend appears very intoxicated, gets sick after drinking a beverage, passes out and is difficult to wake up, seems to have trouble breathing, or behaves in unusual ways, do what you need to do to make sure your friend is safe.
- Always call 911 if necessary.
Signs that You May Have Been Drugged
- You feel drunk even though you haven’t had alcohol
- You wake up very hung over and have a memory lapse or can’t account for a period of time
- Your clothes are a mess or not on right
You are nauseous, sleepy, and have a loss of reflexes
- You feel like someone had sex with you but you can’t remember it
What to do If Your Drink was Drugged
- Go to a safe place. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you.
- Call the police. Tell the police everything. Be honest about your activities. Remember that nothing justifies sexual assault.
- Go to a hospital as soon as possible. Ask for an exam and evidence collection. Request that the hospital take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing. Have them test for GHB, Rohypnol, Ecstasy, and ketamine.
- Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Don’t bathe, shower, or throw away clothing you were wearing during the incident until you’ve talked to the police and been examined by a doctor. Save any other potential evidence, like the glass that held your drink.
- Call a sexual assault crisis center for support and information.