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June 4, 2012

What it Feels Like to be Drugged

What it Feels Like to be Drugged

What does it feel like to be drugged with a roofie? Are there any early warning signs that you may have been the victim of a date rape drug attack? What do they feel like, what do they do to you and what do you feel like the morning after? We talked to three girls who all fell victim to a date rape drug to find out just what it feels like when you get hit.

In the beginning...

It can be like any other night out with your friends. You’re excited, anticipating all the great things that teens dream about when they go out to a party, club or rave with friends. Fun, dancing, maybe a date with destiny and the love of your life... the night is full of expectation and promise. You get ready with your buds, you dance and sing along with your favorite songs, you act a little crazy and giggle at everything.

At least that is how the night started for each of the three girls we spoke with. Not one of them feared or felt that they would ever be at risk for anything let alone the mind and body numbing experience of being slipped a date rape drug.

Meet the three girls we spoke with: Jada, unassumingly pretty, athletic, and talkative with a wicked sarcastic sense of humor; Krista, again very pretty, also very quiet and very gentle with her mannerisms and movements; Lori, tall, strong looking and fierce when she speaks, this is not a girl you would normally want to mess with. Each of these girls is very different and yet they have one thing in common, all fell victim to a date rape drug. Jada and Krista were hit while at a nightclub while Lori was slipped a drug at a fraternity party, and if you ask them when they think it happened not one of them can give you a clue. “It happened fast,” Krista says matter of factly, “I didn’t know anything was wrong until I was well in to the high of the drug, until it had already hit me hard.”

How it happens (in the blink of an eye)...

So how does it happen? It happens in an instant usually when a drink is left unattended while dancing or talking. A fraction of a second is all it takes to drop some liquid or powder in to a drink. It can be done as a person walks by, just a quick flick in the right direction and nobody is the wiser until the drug has taken hold. Date rapists who use drugs rarely spend time with their victim before they slip the drug. Instead, they watch the victim to monitor their drinking habit (they like it to look to others like you have had too much to drink) and they strike well before making contact. They slip the drug and watch for it to take effect, and then they make their move. When Krista, Jada and Lori think back each of them says that they didn’t watch their drinks as well as they should have. “I put mine down on the nearest table every time I danced,” Lori says, “even if the table was full of people I didn’t know. I figured, we’re all Greeks, I can trust these people.” This can be a serious mistake. Jada did the same thing at a nightclub; “I was drinking water so I didn’t think I needed to watch my drink. You think you need to watch it cause it costs you money not because somebody might do something to your drink.” Bottom line; never leave your drink unattended, even with people you trust. And remember, it is best not to have an open drink (a drink in a glass), bottled or canned water or beverages are your safest choice.

It hits really fast (what now??)...

“You feel dizzy and really, really tired,” Lori announces when I ask how it feels when the drug takes hold. Jada pipes in, “You feel so tired like you can’t keep your eyes open to save your life and your whole body seems to be gone. It’s like it’s not even there and nothing is holding your head up. You feel like you are floating.” Every study on date rape drugs reports the same effects; dizziness, overwhelming fatigue, detachment from ones body and from physical surroundings, watching things happen without feeling or emotion, difficulty staying awake, black outs, moments of lucidity followed by blank spots, feeling as if in a dream or movie, not hearing sounds, hearing things with an echo as if they are far away, difficulty walking, talking, standing or controlling ones body, loss of memory are all the signs that a date rape drug has hit you. If you have had very little alcohol to drink, have had nothing to drink and/or have not been doing drugs voluntarily these effects are frightening but it is also clear that you have been drugged. It can be harder to identify that you have been drugged if you have had lots of alcohol to drink or have been doing other drugs. Obviously, being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs puts you at greater risk for being hit with a date rape drug and it makes it harder for you to identify that you have become a victim.

What it feels like later (the aftermath)...

“I was sick for 5 days and had to sleep all the time.” Krista says, “it was like the flu only worse. I threw up in the morning after and not again but I was so tired all the time after and had hot flashes. It was awful!” After a date rape drug has left your system it still can ravage your body. Most date rape drugs are completely gone within the first 72 hours of ingestion although some can stay in a while longer. GHB, a common homemade date rape drug is usually gone in 48 hours or less. But the toll the drug takes on your body lasts much longer. Because the drug knocks you out without really allowing your brain to rest it has wicked hang over effect. You will feel tired for days, you may get sick within the first 12 hours, you will have flu like symptoms like nausea and diarrhea, and you will feel exhausted.

Jada who had a baby at 16 summed the exhaustion up like this, “I was 20 times more tired after being slipped the roofie than I was after giving birth!” Since the purpose of a date rape drug is raping the victim a sadly common sign that you have fallen victim to a date rape drug is vague memories of sex or physical signs that sex has happened. If you think you were raped go to a hospital and tell them that you think you were slipped a date rape drug, they can test for them if they know to look.

What you can do to protect yourself (learn from their mistakes)...

From talking with these three victims there are some things that came out as big mistakes they made. Be aware of their mistakes so you can avoid making them yourself. Here are some tips to keep yourself safer:
  • Don’t allow anyone to buy you a drink or bring you a drink, always be right beside them and never let the drink out of your sight. Preferably, take the drink directly from the bartender or server yourself.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended even for a second.
  • Don’t turn your back on your drink while it sits on a table or bar, keep it in your hand in front of your body at all times. At the very least keep it in front of you and in your line of sight.
  • Don’t assume that because you are drinking a non-alcoholic beverage that you are safe, a potential rapist can’t tell a plain cola from one mixed with alcohol.
  • Try to drink out of bottles or cans; they are harder targets for the quick slip.
  • Unless you really, really, really, oh yeah, really trust the person and have known them for a long enough time to really get their character, don’t let a friend watch your drink for you. Even if they would never slip you a roofie, they may not watch your bevy as well as they should.
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