K8 Investigation: Date Rape Drug Dangers - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR - Will Carter Investigates

K8 Investigation: Date Rape Drug Dangers

July 19, 2007 - Posted at 934 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-Slipped into someone's drink, they are odorless and tasteless, but can very harmful, very quickly.

"It took like 15 or 20 minutes and I was out."

That was the case for this Region Eight woman who asked us to keep her identity anonymous.

"I was out with some friends so we decided to stop in at this bar and play some pool. One of my friends and I, we both ordered the exact same mixed drink.  I sat it down on the corner of the bar because there was only like 10 or 12 people in there.  We finished the game.  I finished my drink, and then pretty much after that we left.  At some point in the car ride home I passed out."

She says she awoke to vomiting, and sensations of numbness throughout her body.

"One drink is not going to get you to that level.  So, we knew that it had to be something else."

That something waH a date rape drug, which is common in three forms.

The first is Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as GHB.   While the drug has been banned in the U.S., it is still used to treat some rare forms of narcolepsy.

The second drug is Rohypnol.   It too is not approved for use in the United States, but is used commonly in other countries as a sleeping aid.

The third is Ketamine, which is used in hospital settings as an anesthetic for some procedures.

"All three of them have in common that they will make you sleepy very quickly.  So someone that is concerned about having been exposed to that type of drug will get sleepy within 15 to 20 minutes," said Doctor Dosha Cummins.

She says of the three, GHB has the most noticeable effects on the body.

"The date rape drug GHB has a property of making you very nauseous.  So if someone is out in an environment such as a party and they notice not only are they getting very sleepy, unexpectedly so, but are very sick at their stomach - with that particular drug it would be a clue," said Cummins.

But the clues of being exposed to the date rape drug often come too late.

"In this day and time, it is important for anyone of any age to be aware of who they are around and who they are with, especially when we are dealing with drugs that can be slipped in a drink.  Many of them have no taste and they have no color.  If they are not watching their drink, or know the friends they are with very very well,  anyone can walk up to them and slip something in their drink," said Cummins.

"I feel extremely lucky.  If my friends wouldn't have been with me, or we had have stayed there longer, something bad could have happened," said annonymous victim.

But often times that is the case, and the victim is assaulted sexually.

However, the number of these cases reported to police is extremely low.

"A lot of the date rape victims feel like they have put themselves in a position where they have either been drinking or into a position where they have  been administered some type of drug.  They feel it's as much their fault as it is someone else's and therefore they don't come forward," said Detective Ernest Ward.

And doctors stress the importance of not ignoring the situation and getting checked out.

"It can be a very embarrassing time for them, but they need to go ahead and do it.  The reason is that these drugs can be detected in urine or blood, but only for a short period.  Maybe just 12 hours," said Cummins.

That's just a few hours, before a criminal case closes as quickly as it opened.

"Evidence needs to be collected as soon as possible.  Especially when drugs are used.  They tend to leave the system and the body.  When a drug is administered, within a few moments it is at its highest level.  So, the levels start to drop immediately," said Ward.

But most, never want to be put in the situation of having to report anything.

So how can you keep yourself safe?

In recent years products like the "Drink Safe Coaster" have emerged.

The coaster changes colors when a drop of contaminated alcohol is added.

But doctors say the best way to keep yourself safe is to simply use common knowledge.

"Try to drink something that comes in a closed container, that hasn't been exposed or opened for someone to slip something in there.  If you walk off and leave your drink, when you come back throw it away and get another one.  At all times, be aware of what you are putting in your body," said Cummins.

And they say your actions now are the ones that could save your life.

"My drinks never leave my sight now.  I try to spread that to all my female friends too.  Even just to sit it down, and turn around to do something else.  You never know who's going to put something in there, or if something is going to happen," said annonymous victim.

"Don't assume the people you are with are acting in your best interest if you do not know them well, because they are looking for a target.  You don't want to be the person that's the target," said Cummins.


For more information on the "Drink Safe Coaster" click this link:  http://www.drinksafetech.com.au/

For more information on date rape and the common drugs used check out this website:

http://www.coolnurse.com/date_rape.htm


*Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@hotmail.com

 

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