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"Date Rape" Drugs

News media reports indicate that female college students are at risk for victimization by so-called "date rape" drugs. Typically, the drugs that are used include Rohypnol, or "roofies," and similar substances such as Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which render individuals vulnerable to sexual assault.

How are "date rape" drugs used?

You should be aware that "date rape" drugs are sometimes put into drinks without the individual's knowledge. These drugs are difficult to detect because they are generally colorless and odorless. Drugs can be slipped into drinks when individuals leave their drinks unattended or accept drinks from somebody that they don't know very well.

What are the effects of "date rape" drugs?

In general, these drugs cause sedation and amnesia. Approximately 10 to 20 minutes after ingestion, the victim may feel dizzy, disoriented, and occasionally nauseous. She may have difficulty speaking and moving, and eventually she may pass out. Generally, the victim will have no memory of what happened while under the drug's influence. The effects of the drugs can last anywhere from two to eight hours. In addition to rendering the victim very vulnerable to sexual assault, these drugs can also pose extremely serious health risks. These can include liver failure, seizures, potentially fatal respiratory problems and coma.

Occasionally, rather than becoming sedated and passing out, individuals may become extremely agitated, belligerent and aggressive.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Don't drink anything you did not open yourself or you saw being opened.
  • Never accept a drink from someone you don't know well.
  • Always watch your drink at parties and bars. Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Have a friend drive to and from a party or bar with you, so you cannot be led away by someone.
  • Do not accept a ride from or go home with someone you don't know well.
  • Do not walk alone at night when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Take care of your friends. If they seem disproportionately drunk and "out of it," they may have been slipped a drug. Do not leave them alone.

What should I do if I suspect that I have been a victim of a "date rape" drug?

Although "date rape" drugs tend to cause amnesia about the events that occurred while the individual was under their influence, there may be evidence of sexual assault on the person of the victim and/or in her environment. Also, friends may raise concerns with the victim about what may have taken place. In addition, any time that you feel strange, disoriented or disproportionately drunk after ingesting alcoholic beverages, you should consider the possibility that a drug may have been slipped into your drink. If you suspect that you have been slipped a "date rape" drug, you may do the following:

  • take your suspicions very seriously and act on them
  • if possible, try to keep a sample of the drink for analysis
  • if you suspect that you have been sexually assaulted do not shower, bathe or otherwise destroy evidence
  • go to a hospital and have the medical collection of evidence done. This does not mean that you will necessarily press charges against your assailant. However, should you decide to press charges, the evidence will have been preserved and
  • get support to help you through this traumatic event. Certainly you should inform friends you trust, and you should consider getting professional assistance from one of the resources listed below

On Campus Resources:

Campus Safety and Security - (914) 633-2245
Counseling Center - (914) 633-2038
Health Services - (914) 633-2548
Office of Student Development - (914) 633-2360

Off Campus Resources:

New Rochelle Police Department - (914) 654-2300
Sound Shore Medical Center - (914) 632-5000
Victim's Assistance Services of Westchester - (914) 345-3113
24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline - (914) 345-9111