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Rapists Are Using a New Weapon to Overpower Their Victims

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages
Rapists are increasingly using such drugs as Rohypnol and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) to incapacitate their victims.
Rohypnol is the brand name for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine drug. It is from the same family of medications as Valium and Xanax but has not been approved for medical use in the United States. Rohypnol is a potent and fast-acting sedative, and physical effects of the drug may be noticeable within 20 to 30 minutes after ingestion. Rohypnol causes drowsiness, confusion, impaired motor skills, dizziness, disinhibition, impaired judgment, and reduced levels of consciousness. One of the most disturbing effects of Rohypnol is that it can produce complete or partial amnesia. GHB has been tested for medical uses in the United States but has not been approved for any use outside of research trials by the Food and Drug Administration. GHB is a powerful synthetic drug that acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. It is rapidly metabolized by the body, and effects of the drug can be felt within 15 minutes after ingestion. GHB can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, seizures, respiratory depression, intense drowsiness, unconsciousness, and coma. In some cases, GHB can also cause amnesia. When GHB is ingested with alcohol or other drugs, the consequences can be life-threatening. GHB is most commonly made in a clear liquid form, and reports indicate GHB is being distributed at clubs, bars, raves, and other parties where it is easily dropped or squirted into drinks. Recommendations to help victims avoid being raped in connection with the effects of Rohypnol or GHB are offered.