'Date Rape Drugs " Alcohol has been the 'date rape drug' of choice for years. Now there are some 'new' drugs on the market, which are being used for date rape. These drugs are Rohypnol, and GHB, or gamma hydroxy butyrate. They " re used to 'spike' unsuspecting victim's drinks.

This can be easily done because these drugs have no odor, color or taste when put into a drink. These drugs are being increasingly used by youth - in many cases as a date rape drug because of its ability to affect willpower. A 2 mg dose of these drugs in one beer can put a person flat on their back, awakening with no memories of what happened them. Alcohol is a depressant drug; it slows the activity of the brain and the spinal cord. Beer, ale, wine, and hard liquor contain varying percentages of alcohol.

One average drink equals one 12 oz. can of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1. 5 oz.

of 80 proof whiskey. It takes at least one hour to sober up from each average drink consumed. As alcohol enters the blood stream it knocks out the control centers of the brain, resulting in intoxication. The stages of intoxication range from 'happy' to 'confused' to 'comatose'. Poor judgement and loss of control over ones actions are the results of one's intoxication. A person in a state of intoxication is more vulnerable to being raped.

Alcohol poisoning and even death can occur. Now imagine all these effects with the addition of Rohypnol and GHB added to the mix (scary huh? ). Rohypnol is the brand name for a drug called Flunitrazepam, which is a sedative that is about 10 times more powerful than valium. In other words, it completely knocks you out. After ingested, the drug only takes 10 minutes for the person to feel its effects and they can last for about 8 hours. Rohypnol greatly reduces a person's inhibitions.

It also causes nausea, hot and cold flashes, dizziness, and disorientation. The person may not be able to talk or move and will eventually pass out with no memory of what happened. Sometimes people under the effects of this drug experience hallucinations similar to LSD, better known as acid. Rohypnol comes in tablet form, and is usually white.

It is also known as 'rookies,' 'rookies," 'roach,' or the "forget pill." Rohypnol, especially combined with the effects of alcohol, can lead to death. Rohypnol is legally sold in Latin America and in Europe, but it is not legal in this country. The Drug Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996 was recently passed to increase the penalties for possession and distribution of Flunitrazepam. Some of the penalties included in this legislation include the following: A maximum sentence of 20 years for anyone who distributes a controlled substance to a person without that person's knowledge with intent to commit a crime of violence (such as rape) against that person. GHB, also known as Liquid Ecstasy, is used in the same way as Rohypnol.

GHB is in a liquid form, and has no color or taste. This makes it very easy to slip into drinks. It is made from a combination of engine de greaser and lye. GHB is popular on the dance club circuit because in small doses it can heighten your mood. But, in larger quantities, it can knock you out very quickly and can even lead to death. There are some ways to protect yourself from the possible harm of these drugs.

Don't go to parties alone or to parties where you don't know anyone. Watch your drink at all times and don't leave it unattended. Don't accept a drink from anyone you don't know and also be aware of your surroundings. Always use the 'buddy system' and never leave your friends behind. If you suspect that you " ve been drugged and sexually assaulted, go to the Emergency Room immediately. I would strongly advise a person under any circumstances to never accept any opened drink, particularly not from a stranger.

In fact, if you are to be drinking, you are strongly advised to drink only from tamper-proof bottles or better yet, from cans, and to insist that you open them yourself. Never ask someone to watch your drink for you, they could be easily distracted, or might not be as trustworthy as you would hope. Note that drinking mixed drinks from a wide-mouthed glass is asking for trouble; Rohypnol dissolves very easily in beverages, and the amnesiac state can begin within 10 minutes. Never under any circumstances leave a friend who is displaying the effects of this drug! Be sure to see them home safely and remain there with them.

"Chemically-Assisted Date-Rape is a problem that is not going away as rapidly as we would hope. Please see this report from the University of Southern California on Flunitrazepam and its involvement in date- or acquaintance-rape. For some tips on protecting yourself in today's increasingly estranged and schismatic world, please see this review of this book: The Gift of Fear. You may also wish to see the informative pages of the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault. You should also take a look at the drug Versed, which is legitimately used to induce 'conscious sedation' in clinical settings." Sources: web Handout: Facts about Club Drugs from CASA Temple University Drug and alcohol resource center.