Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.
You can listen to the episode here
September is National Recovery Month and this month I am going to focus on the use of alcohol or other drugs to facilitate sexual assault.
I am sure most of you have heard about the students at North Carolina State University who are inventing a nail polish that changes color when it comes into contact with, what are commonly called, date rape drugs.
The term “date-rape drugs” is used to identify Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB. Do you know what these are exactly?
Rohypnol is the brand name for a drug in the same family as Valium and Xanax. It is a fast-acting sedative. However, it has a side effect that produces memory loss while using the drug.
GHB is gamma-hydroxybutyrate and also produces memory loss while under it’s influence.
Both these drugs dissolve easily, are colorless and oderless. These drugs are used to sedate a person who may not be able to recall what happened under the influence.
Alone, GHB can produce intense drowsiness, confusion, nausea, dizziness, disorientation, vomiting, seizures, respiratory depression, and reduced or loss of consciousness in as little as 10-20 minutes after ingestion. However, when mixed with alcohol, GHB can be extremely lethal. Coma and death are fairly common in overdoses. The effects of GHB can last up to 3-6 hours. GHB is dangerous for several reasons including the ones listed above. One of the main dangers is that it takes so little of it to produce a big effect. Just 2 grams can induce a coma-like sleep where intubation is the only means to wake the user.
What are the street names for GHB: Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Liquid E, Liquid Ecstasy, Easy Lay, G, Vita G, Georgia Home Boy, G-Juice, Great Hormones, Somatomax, Bedtime Scoop, Soap, Gook, Gamma 10, Energy Drink, Salt Water, Liquid Dust, Cherry Meth, Fantasy, Organic Quaalude, and Sleep 500.
Rohypnol can produce drowsiness, confusion, motor skill impairment, dizziness, disorientation, impaired judgment, and reduced or loss of consciousness in as little as 20-30 minutes after ingestion. However, when mixed with alcohol, Rohypnol can be even more dangerous. There may be extremely low blood pressure, respiratory depression, coma, or death. Since Rohypnol is a sedative like alcohol, the two together can be lethal.
Since it is illegal in the US, it is often smuggled into the country from Mexico, Canada, and Europe. It is primarily sent through the US Postal Service, commercial delivery services, and smuggled by individuals. It is classed as a Schedule III federally controlled substance although 8 states have reclassified it as a Schedule I controlled substance.
What are some of Rohypnol’s street names? Ruffies, Roofies, Rophies, Roches, Roaches, La Rochas, Rope, Rib, Forget Pill, Pingus, R2, Reynolds, Row-shay, Roach 2, Wolfies, Trip-and-Fall, Poor Man’s Quaalude, Whiteys, Mind Erasers, Mexican Valium, Lunch Money, Circles, and Roopies.
Notice the street names? Notice how they actually identify what the drugs are used for?
How do you know if you may have been drugged and then assaulted? Many victims report waking up and not knowing how they got home, finding their clothing on inside out or incorrectly or missing items, not remembering the end of a party or event. They may feel have wounds or injuries they cannot account for.
These drugs can show up on a drug test following a sexual assault but only in the person goes to a hospital and requests a test within 24 hours.
What can you do if you think you have been drugged?
get to a safe place and call someone you trust.
get to a hospital emergency room immediately. – Remember mixed with alcohol these drugs can be fatal or induce coma.
notifiy law enforcement.
call a rape crisis center
If you decide to file a report – do not shower, bathe, douche, change clothes, or brush your teeth until medical and legal evidence can be collected. Get to a hospital or clinic to receive treatment for any internal/external injuries (whether or not you see any – they may be undetectable to you), testing for pregnancy or STD’s, treatment for pregnancy or STD’s, and to receive support. Request a urine test to detect the presence of drugs as soon as possible.
A new invention developed by students at North Carolina State University has been highlighted in the press and social media this week: a nail polish, called “Undercover Colors,” that changes color when it comes into contact with date-rape drugs. You just have to stir your drink with your finger and if the nail polish changes color, it signals a problem.
The marketing behind the new product is “The First Fashion Company Empowering Women To Prevent Sexual Assault.”
While there is debate of whether this is just another means for women to have to prevent sexual assault on themselves, it does provide an intervention tool. Until society catches up that preventing sexual assault is not the responsibility of women or the victim, we continue to need tools like these that can help identify if you are being drugged. That is of course if you wear nail polish.
How can you help?
Get involved with your local rape crisis center and addictive recovery center to join a group or service that is available or help create one.
For help or information? Here are some options…
If you have been assaulted, call 911. Local rape crisis centers have advocates they can send to help support you and provide information.
For information on how to report an assault in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street.
To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.
For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers, child advocacy centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.
Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at http://www.thevword.org
The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3 and streamed at wrir.org, read and produced by Carol Olson. Production support is provided by Jennifer Gallienne. Music was created by The Etching Tin