Your Drink Is Drugged

Sometimes taking drugs isn’t a choice you get to make, like when someone slips drugs into your drink. 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 causes you harm.

There are things you should know—and things you can do—to keep yourself safe.

What are “date rape drugs”?

Although there are many substances that can cause you to you pass out or lose control, certain drugs are referred to as “date rape drugs” because sexual predators often use them to get control over their victims. The term “date rape drug” can refer to gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), Rohypnoll, 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 date rape drugs, they won’t show up in results. All this makes it difficult to conduct a criminal investigation.

These drugs can also affect the victim’s memory, so a victim may not remember the details or even identify the person who assaulted them. In some cases, a victim doesn't know what happened until much later.

Protect Yourself

  • Don't drink beverages 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 a party, go to the bar to order your drink, watch the drink 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 away 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 an uncharacteristic way, take steps to ensure your friend's safety. If necessary, call 911 for emergency medical assistance.

Signs That You May Have Been Drugged

  • You feel drunk even though you haven't had alcohol.
  • You wake up very "hung over" and experience a memory lapse or can't account for periods of time.
  • Your clothes are disheveled 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 Is Drugged and You Think You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted

  1. Get to a safe place. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you.
  2. Call the police. Tell the police everything—be honest about your activities. Remember that nothing justifies sexual assault.
  3. 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 the urine for date rape drugs.
  4. Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Don’t bathe, shower, or throw away the 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.
  5. Call a sexual assault crisis center for support and information.

GHB and the Law

Hillory Farias and Samantha Reid were young women who died from GHB overdoses after their sodas were drugged. In response to the dangers of GHB, on February 18, 2000 Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Hillory J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date-Rape Drug Prohibition Act of 2000 (U.S. Public Law 106-172).

This law states that abuse of illicit GHB is an imminent hazard to public safety. The law places GHB in a higher drug schedule, raising the federal penalties for manufacturing and distributing the drug.