Psychology Wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Biological: Behavioural genetics · Evolutionary psychology · Neuroanatomy · Neurochemistry · Neuroendocrinology · Neuroscience · Psychoneuroimmunology · Physiological Psychology · Psychopharmacology (Index, Outline)

Date rape drug refers to any drug which can be used to assist in the commission of a sexual assault. These drugs commonly have sedative, hypnotic, dissociative and/or amnesiac affects, and when used to facilitate rape are often added to a food or drink without the victim's knowledge.

Types of drugs[]

Some often mentioned date rape drugs are GHB, ketamine and benzodiazepines (such as flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol or "roofies"). However, alcohol remains the drug most frequently implicated in substance-assisted sexual assault.[1]


Alcohol is by far the most common date rape drug and victims usually take it willingly. In lower doses alcohol will cause varying degrees of disinhibition. In large doses, alcohol will sedate and cause partial or complete amnesia for events occurring while intoxicated. In addition, alcohol increases the effects of most other sedative and amnesic drugs.

In April, 2007, the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) acknowledged in their report that alcohol accounts for almost half of all drug-facilitated sexual assaults


Benzodiazepines (including Flunitrazepam/[Rohypnol]) are sedatives/hypnotics which also cause amnesia to different extents.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

"Rohypnol can incapacitate victims and prevent them from resisting sexual assault. It can produce "anterograde amnesia," which means that individuals may not remember events they experienced while under the effects of the drug."[2]

The sedative effects of Rohypnol begin to appear approximately 15–20 minutes after the drug is ingested. The effects typically last from four to six hours after administration of the drug, but some cases have been reported in which the effects were experienced 12 or more hours after administration. In recent news it has been discovered that scientists can now detect flunitrazepam and related compounds in urine at least up to 5 days after administration of a single dose of Rohypnol and up to a month in hair


Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) has effects that are very similar to alcohol. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration:

"Victims may not be aware that they ingested a drug at all. GHB and its analogues are invisible when dissolved in water, and are odorless. They are somewhat saltish in taste, but are indiscernible when dissolved in beverages such as soft drinks, liquor, or beer." This is also known as a famous club and party drug.[3]

Many recreational users of GHB would disagree with the above:

"GHB is, in fact, quite salty. When mixed in a drink, it ruins the drink (like dumping bicarb in a drink)."[4]

Psychoactive doses of GHB are in the range of 1-3 grams, a large amount compared with most other sedative drugs, which can be active in amounts measured in milligrams. This makes detection of a drink tainted with GHB more likely.

Other drugs[]


These drugs can be extremely dangerous when administered to a party that is not aware of the drugging, and may kill or render the victim comatose, especially in large doses or in combination with other drugs or alcohol. Drug allergies and interactions are also a possibility. Drug effects can be amplified in a certain percentage of the population that lack enzymes normally found to break down the drugs.

It is imperative that any investigation into the suspected use of date rape drugs involve the immediate carrying out of a blood test, as waiting too long to test for the presence of drugs may cause false negatives, because these drugs are quickly metabolized and eliminated by the body. Trying to deduce whether date rape drugs have been used from the symptoms is an approach that can cause false positives.

Testing kits that claim to detect GHB, Ketamine, and benzodiazepines such as Rohypnol in seconds are commercially available under names such as "The Drink Detective". Companies around the world are making or trying to make paper coasters or drink stirrers that change color when dabbed with a drink doctored with a date rape drug.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

In most countries, whether a drug was used or not is irrelevant to the issue of whether a particular incident is rape or not. The legal definition of rape in countries such as the United States, also covers a lack of consent when the victim is unable to say "no" to intercourse, whether the effect is due to drugging, or simply alcohol consumption.[5]

Mass hysteria[]

In 2003, when the media were reporting a drink-spiking epidemic in Perth, Western Australia, 44 women had their blood tested because they believed they had been the victims of drink-spiking. The West Australian Chemistry Centre tested the blood samples and in these 44 cases, the only substance found in the victim's system was excessive alcohol. Police said that the blood-alcohol level of most of the subjects was significantly higher than what the women had themselves expected. In large amounts, alcohol has the same effects as date rape drugs, and causes unconsciousness and memory loss.

Sometimes victims end up drinking too much and insist that they were drugged when in fact they overestimated their tolerance for alcohol. A study in the UK found that only 2 percent of a pool of 1014 rape victims had their drinks spiked with sedatives.[6]

See also[]

  • Mickey Finn (drugs)
  • Rape


External links[]


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).