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25 December 2017 By Zawn Villines,  Reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD

Any drug that alters a person's consciousness in a way that makes self-defense or sound decision-making difficult can be a date rape drug.

Most estimates suggest that at least 25 percent or 1 in 4 of American women have been sexually assaulted or raped. Someone the victim knows, sometimes with the assistance of a date rape drug, commits most rapes.

Knowing the most common date rape drugs, their side effects, and the signs of a perpetrator planning to use one can prevent victimization.

Fast facts on date rape drugs:

  • Many people worry about a perpetrator adding a date rape drug to an alcoholic drink.
  • The primary sign of being drugged is a sudden, unexplained change in consciousness.
  • A person who thinks they may have been drugged should seek safety first and foremost.

Types and their side effects

Alcohol and benzodiazepines are commonly used date rape drugs, as they may cause physical weakness and loss of consciousness.

Date rape drugs make a sexual assault, including rape easier in one or more ways, such as:

  • making a victim more compliant and less able to say no
  • weakening a victim so they are unable to resist or fight back
  • making a victim fully or partially unconscious
  • weakening a victim's inhibitions, so they consent to sexual activity they may otherwise decline

Any drug that changes a potential victim's state of mind, including some prescription drugs, street drugs such as heroin, and popular drugs such as marijuana, can be a date rape drug.

The most common date rape drugs are:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Ketamine
  • GHB
  • Other date rape drugs

Any drug that changes a victim's consciousness can be used to facilitate date rape.

In some cases, the victim might even ingest the drug willingly. A person who uses heroin, for example, may be so intoxicated that they do not realize a perpetrator is attempting to rape them. People who use drugs should, therefore, avoid taking them around certain acquaintances or in settings that might facilitate date rape.

  1. Types
  2. Signs and symptoms
  3. What to do
  4. Protecting yourself
  5. Takeaway

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Pop culture glorifies partying, but a wave of sober stars is pushing back on the status quo

In the fictional world, sober icons are few and far between, but shows depicting the reality of the negative consequences of risky drinking and drug use provide their own kinds of icons. In the most recent season of Showtime’s Shameless, audiences watched as the once self-assured Lip lost his college scholarship and job due to his struggles with alcoholism but then began attending Alcoholics Anonymous. The eighth season of the show, set to premiere in November, promises further exploration of Lip’s recovery. Netflix’s BoJack Horseman has always presented the eponymous main character’s drinking as a coping mechanism for his the lack of fulfillment he finds in his personal and professional lives. But the latest season takes that presentation even further, as BoJack actively begins to question his drinking habits once his mother and alleged daughter come to live with him. As he does when faced with any sort of pressure or show of love, Bojack repeatedly finds himself at his local bar for a quick drink that soon turns into an all-day binge, and then takes an honest look at his drinking habit

Sober public figures and icons send the message that living a happy, interesting, exciting life it is possible without alcohol and drugs. And their visibility offers hope along with other widely reported, promising statistics: Nationwide, neighborhood bars are closingbeer sales are downmarijuana use and binge drinking among teens, particularly for white boys in higher socioeconomic groups, is declining; and there are more and more recovery programs on college campuses. For some millennials, like myself, it may seem like that every year brings more and more sober peers. That impression is only supported by the many recent articles touting the so-called “trendiness” of sobriety.

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More than 2,000 "junior junkie" babies have been born addicted to drugs including heroin, cocaine and cannabis in the past five years, heartbreaking figures reveal.

The shocking scandal of youngsters arriving in the world already hooked on hard drugs is laid bare after an investigation into neonatal abstinence syndrome.

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Written by Ana Sandoiu  Published: Thursday 2 February 2017

Misleadingly marketed as a legal and safe alternative to marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids have a variety of adverse health effects. A new review summarizes the clinical cases that have so far been linked to the use of the synthetic substances.

A new review warns that so-called synthetic marijuana is actually very different from cannabis and is potentially unsafe.

Synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) are a type of psychotropic chemical increasingly marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana.

They are either sprayed onto dried plants so that they can be smoked, or they are sold as vaporizable and inhalable liquids.

A new review from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) warns against the dangerous side effects of the compounds popularly (and misleadingly) referred to as "synthetic marijuana."

Referring to the SCBs currently sold as "K2" and "Spice," Paul L. Prather, a cellular and molecular pharmacologist at UAMS and corresponding author of the review, explains the motivation behind it:

SCBs linked to serious adverse health effects and even death

As reported in the review, some of these effects suggest that SCBs cause much more toxicity than marijuana. Toxicity has been reported across a wide range of systems, including the gastrointestinal, neurological, cardiovascular, and renal systems.

The clinical cases documented in the review include acute and long-term symptoms, such as:

  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Catatonia
  • Kidney injury
  • Hypertension
  • Chest pain
  • Myocardial toxicity
  • Ischemic stroke

Common adverse effects include prolonged and severe vomiting, anxietypanic attacks, and irritability. Additionally, SCBs reportedly caused extreme psychosis in susceptible individuals, whereas marijuana only causes mild psychosis in those predisposed.

Furthermore, 20 deaths have been linked to SCBs between 2011 and 2014, whereas no deaths were reported among marijuana users during that time.

Finally, SCBs are likely to result in tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal.

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