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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

Ketamine under microscope. Credit: National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Predatory, Club and Party Drugs

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Sometimes drugs are misused as predatory drugs to facilitate sexual assault. It should be noted that alcohol is the most commonly used drug by predators to incapacitate victims and facilitate sexual violence. However, Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine are powerful drugs that are sometimes added to alcohol to render individuals incapicitated with a single drink.

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GHB poured into a glass. Credit: modesto3 / Deposit Photos

 Some Key Concerns

Except for alcohol, these drugs are essentially colorless, tasteless, and odorless. "Predators" add drugs to beverages and the person ingests them unknowingly. Person ingesting drug is unable to resist and/or remember being assaulted. 

Common Drug Types

GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate)

Street names for GHB include G, liquid ecstasy, Grievous Bodily Harm, gib, soap, scoop, and nitro.

  • Side Effects: Euphoria, dizziness, excessive salivation, abnormally low heart rate, hypothermia, and amnesia, overdose can lead to seizures, coma, and death.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Anxiety, insomnia, tremor, and in severe cases, psychoses that do not respond well to treatment.
  • Abuse and Dependency: Chronic use may result in dependency.
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Ketamine street names include K, special K, super K, vitamin K, kit-kat, keets, super acid, jet, and cat valium.

  • Side Effects: Cause bizarre thoughts and hallucinations, confusion, memory loss, delirium, and experience rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations, elevated blood pressure, and slow or "stop and start" breathing. "Flashbacks" or visual disturbances can appear days or weeks after ingestion.
  • Abuse and Dependency: Some chronic users become addicted and exhibit severe withdrawal symptoms that require medically supervised detoxification.
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Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam)

Rohypnol, is a potent, quick acting sedative. Street names include Mexican Valium, circles, roofies, la rocha, roche, rophies, R2, rope, and forget-me pill.

  • Side Effects: Higher doses produce anterograde amnesia (a form of memory loss where new events are not transferred to long-term memory), lack of muscle control, and loss of consciousness, reduced blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, visual disturbances, urinary retention, or aggressive behavior.
    • When mixed with alcohol or other sedating drugs, Rohypnol can incapacitate victims, prevent them from resisting sexual assault, and be lethal.
  • Abuse and Dependency: Chronic use can produce dependence. Withdrawal symptoms include headache, tension, anxiety, restlessness, muscle pain, sensitivity to light, numbness and tingling of the extremities, and seizures.
Blurred lights. Credit: fanjianhua / Deposit Photos

What Are the Signs/Symptoms of Being Drugged?

GHB and Rohypnol are depressants and therefore the signs and symptoms are very similar to being heavily intoxicated (weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, and visual impairment). These drugs begin to impact the person within 15-30 minutes of consumption. If someone appears to be far more intoxicated than they should be for how much they drank, and the onset of these symptoms is severe and sudden, they may have been drugged. Ketamine, while not a depressant, alters perception, and may cause hallucinations and heart palpitations.

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How Can We, As a Community, Prevent Druggings On Campus?

Stanford strives to embody a culture of care and we can all do our part to prevent these acts of harm. As a group hosting events, there are several things you might consider to reduce risk of contaminated drinks:

  • Have a single point of beverage service at your event so that you may closely monitor the alcohol and other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • As much as possible, serve canned, single serving beverages (e.g. 12-ounce can of beer, five-ounce can of wine, canned sodas, and bottled water).
  • While hard alcohol is prohibited at registered events, remember that any mixed beverages served at events (e.g. homemade non-alcoholic punch) should be made to order and not pre-poured.
  • Any beverage (alcoholic or not) that is in a large container with the potential for tampering should be closely monitored by the bartender/sober monitor.
  • Have a sober monitor/bartender attending to the beverage service AT ALL TIMES.
  • Do not allow guests to bring in outside sources of alcohol.
  • If you believe that the alcohol or EANABS at your event have been tampered with, first remove all suspected beverages, next notify the RD on call, and notify the Stanford Department of Public Safety (DPS) to get further instructions.

In addition, individuals can also utilize strategies that may reduce the risk of being drugged. Again, an impacted party is never at fault for being victimized by someone acting with malicious intent. With that said, we want to equip you with strategies for how to look out for yourself and your friends. You might consider the following:

  • Do not take a drink that has already been opened.
  • Order your own drinks and watch them being made/poured. Avoid drinks from pre-poured/pre-mixed sources.
  • Do not leave your drink unattended to come back to later.
  • Predatory drugs are very powerful and can incapacitate someone after one drink. Tell your friends what your drink limit is for the night so they can identify if your level of intoxication is not consistent with the amount you have had to drink; tell someone if you start to feel much more intoxicated than you expected/would expect given the amount you have consumed.
  • If you notice suspicious behavior including someone lingering around the beverage service area, and/or adding unknown powders, liquids, or tablets to drinks, report this immediately to the hosting group and ask that it remove the alcohol.
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What To Do If You Think You Have Been Drugged

We highly encourage anyone who suspects that they or a friend have been drugged to review the following:.

  1. You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible and disclose this information to your health care provider so that the health care provider is able to provide the best possible care. Be aware that drugging is a form of violence that can trigger mandatory reporting to law enforcement in California. As is the case with an individual who has been sexually assaulted, a victim is not required to provide a statement to law enforcement. It is important to note that involving law enforcement enables evidence (namely a blood or urine sample) to be collected and retained in accordance with procedures that are admissible in court should you want to pursue a criminal case.
  2. Evidence collection is a separate process from the collection of a blood or urine sample by a health care provider for the purpose of a medical evaluation and treatment. DPS has the ability to submit samples collected as evidence in a criminal investigation to a certified crime lab. The crime lab can test for hundreds of potential drugs. In comparison, many emergency departments do not routinely screen for predatory drugs. Further, emergency departments typically screen for a much smaller sample of drugs compared to what a crime lab can test.
  3. Because predatory drugs are rapidly metabolized, it is strongly recommended that individuals involve law enforcement and provide a sample for evidence purposes within 12 hours after ingestion. Some of the predatory drugs are metabolized at an even faster rate, so it is recommended that a sample is provided to law enforcement in a way that meets evidentiary standards as soon as possible.
  4. During a forensic exam (if one chooses to have one) of an individual who has been sexually assaulted, a trained SART nurse will collect blood and urine samples. These samples are transferred to law enforcement in a way that has been formalized and is admissible in court. The samples will be tested by the crime lab when a victim chooses to pursue a criminal investigation.
  5. Students who report to Stanford DPS that they may have been drugged will receive outreach from their residence deans and sometimes the Office of Substance Use Programs, Education & Resources and/or the SHARE Title IX Office. These resources are meant to provide support for individuals.
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For help understanding these options, there are several resources on campus.

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Additional Options