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HOW DO DATE RAPE DRUGS WORK AND THE LAW IN THE UK

Updated: Apr 30

Glass of Martini that could be spiked

5-minute reading about date rape drugs, what are the most common date rape drugs, how long a date rape drug takes to work, how long date a rape drug will last, how to detect you’ve been given a date rape drug, strategies to help improve your safety on a date and avoid being given a date rape drug and the changes in December 2023 to UK Legislation related to Spiking.

Change to the Law in the UK related to Spiking

While spiking has always been illegal, the current law framework hasn't explicitly addressed it, relying on existing offences that often involve broader definitions. This new move introduces several key differences:

Clarity and Specificity:

  • Current: Spiking might fall under various existing offences like administering a poison with intent to injure, assault, or sexual assault. This can create ambiguity and uncertainty about whether a specific case constitutes spiking.

  • New: Explicitly mentioning spiking removes any ambiguity and clearly establishes it as a distinct criminal act within the legal framework. This makes it easier to identify, investigate, and prosecute spiking cases.


Increased Awareness and Recognition:


  • Current: Lack of specific mention in the law might lead to under-reporting and under-recognition of spiking as a crime.

  • New: By acknowledging spiking explicitly, the law raises awareness among both the public and legal professionals. This could encourage more victims to come forward and increase the likelihood of investigations and prosecutions.

Potential for Harsher Sentences:

  • Current: Spiking convictions often rely on existing offences with varying sentencing guidelines.

  • New: By clarifying spiking as a specific act, it opens the door for potentially harsher penalties tailored to the seriousness of the crime and its consequences. This could act as a stronger deterrent against spiking.

Spoiler Alert In Liar (Netflix drama series) Laura Nielson a teacher nervously has a date with a renowned surgeon Andrew Earlham, an initial attraction leads to a date and then Laura recalls the blurred events of the night before and the gripping story unfolds, she accuses Andrew of raping her.

During the first 3 episodes you’re left guessing if Laura just regrets the night before and is falsely accusing Andrew, or if Andrew is actually a sinister character and slipped her a Roofie (Spiked) commonly known as Date Rape drug. which is used in drug-assisted-rape.

Whilst the drama is great viewing, in real life women (and some men) are slipped Roofies in their drinks (Spiked) on dates and sometimes by strangers when they are out with their friends and then raped; it happens in colleague campuses, wine bars, night clubs, pubs and even restaurants (Bill Cosby used Quaalude to drug his victims) the statistics show how much of a reality date rape and date rape drugs are;

Date Rape and Date Rape Drug Statistics

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men experience rape at some point during their lifetime.

  • Estimated that over 4 out of 5 of rape cases are date rape.

  • Date rape drugs are estimated to be involved in up to 1 in 5 rapes reported.

What Date Rape Drugs are used?

Two most common date rape drugs (spiking drugs) are Rohypnol and GHB or Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate.

What is Rohypnol?
Technically known as Flunitrazepam, Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine, similar to Valium only 10x times stronger. Its medical use is either a strong sleeping pill or a pre-op sedative prior to surgery in many countries.

Some slang terms are for Rohypnol are : Roofies, the “Date Rape Drug”, Roach, Rope, R2, Mexican Valium. Rophies.

Rohypnol, a medication initially produced in the form of caplets, underwent a significant transformation in 1997 due to mounting concerns about its involvement in sexual assaults. The original white, 2-milligram tablets posed a considerable challenge for potential victims, as they dissolved transparently in liquids, rendering them virtually undetectable when mixed into a beverage.

In response to these concerns, the manufacturer introduced a revamped version of the drug. The new caplets came in smaller dosages, measuring 0.5 mg and 1.0 mg, and sported a subtle green color with a blue core. When these caplets were dissolved in light-colored drinks, they would tint the liquid blue, providing a visual indicator. It was a step in the right direction to enhance safety. However, it's essential to note that the blue dye may be less effective when mixed into blue or dark-colored liquids, and generic versions of the drug may lack this distinctive coloring, making it imperative to exercise caution and awareness.

How fast is Rohypnol and when will it flush out of my system?

  • Rohypnol takes effect within 20 – 30 minutes of taking it and lasts up to 8 hours (so throughout most of the night)

  • It like sedative and induces amnesia, it relaxes muscles, and slows down mental activity.

  • When mixed in alcohol, Rohypnol increases the feeling of being drunk and lowers most folk’s inhibitions.

  • Some of the other effects are decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, visual impairment, dizziness, confusion, upset stomach and retaining wee.

Not being able to remember things and events that happened under the influence has been a reason it’s used in this way by rapists.

Is Rohypnol easy to acquire?

Yes, the price is than a packet of cigarettes, a little harder to acquire but not that difficult.

Rohypnol is sold on prescription in 1mg or 2mg doses and usually comes in white tablets and has the word ROCHE written on the tablet.

It’s a cure for Insomnia so many patients will fake the symptoms to get it or obtain it from a country or pharmacist overseas, or from a street dealer.

If my drink has Rohypnol in it how can I tell? Rohypnol dissolves very quickly in liquid, especially fizzy drinks leaving no taste or odour. It often leads to blackouts when mixed with alcohol, it’s therefore very easy for drinks to be spiked.

How can I reduce the risks if I think I’ve been given Rohypnol?

Avoid drinking any more alcohol and mixing with any other drugs.

Luckily the effects lessen after a few hours , go to hospital ASAP , if it’s a friend and your looking on the internet, many forums will advise that benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil will help, but because the user has a high chance of seizures it’s only used when someone is very ill like in a coma or near to dying.

Other forums will advise “activated charcoal” as it absorbs Rohypnol and can slow or stop the affects.

What is GHB or Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate?
GHB or is another central nervous system (CNS) depressant and is also known as a “date rape” or “Club” drug.

Technically known as Gamma Hydroxybutyrate and the most common prescription brand is Xyrem (sodium oxybate).

It is also called ““liquid X” , “goop and “liquid ecstasy,”” It comes as either an odourless liquid or a white powder. GHB is most commonly mixed with alcohol at dance clubs and raves.

How quickly does GHB work and how long does it last?


grid showing how quickly GHB leaves the body

  • GHB takes effect pretty much immediately, within 5 minutes and will last between 1.5 hours to 3 hours.

  • Small doses stimulate one’s mood and help to relieve anxiety and depression whilst larger doses cause sedation.

  • Common short-term effect of GHB : is a state of euphoria.

  • It causes relaxation, which can enhance one’s mood and the ability to get along with others.

  • When mixed with alcohol the person taking it will experience an enhanced feeling of drunkenness followed by they will feel drowsy.

As it inhibits the user and enhances their mood and drunkenness it’s been used as the date rape drug.

How easy is it to obtain GHB?

It’s one of the cheapest and easiest drugs to get your hands on, with a very cheap street price and just type in “where to buy GHB” in google and there will be over 500,000 search results with easy availability online.

It’s also easy to convert common cleaning fluids into GHB and therefore has attracted many homemade dealers to create it themselves.

GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) and 1,4-butanediol are both sold as substitutes for GHB. You can legally buy these as cleaning solvents and they naturally convert to GHB when you swallow them.

How can you tell if someone has put GHB in a drink?

GHB has a salty taste. GHB is usually in liquid form so quickly dissolves in liquid, especially fizzy drinks.

How can I reduce the risks if I think I’ve been given GHB? Avoid drinking any more alcohol and mixing with any other drugs.

It’s a very strong drug, but the effects will wear off within hours, seek medical advice 999/ 911/ 112/ 000 immediately,

While someone gets you help, tell someone you trust to keep you as alert as possible check, ask them to continue to see if you can open your eyes, ask them to continue to speak to you and kp squeeze your hand or pinching you whilst medical help comes; Do not fall asleep.

7 TIPS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF YOUR DRINK BEING SPIKED WITH A DATE RAPE DRUG;

1) Don’t accept drinks from strangers, or if they you do, ensure that the barman hands you the drink or it is brought to your table by staff straight from behind the bar.

2) Don’t leave drinks unattended instead, ask a friend to hold your drink, or the bar tender to place the drink behind the bar (only if you trust them).

3) Select cans or unopened bottled drinks and watch the drink seal being broken especially when you are with people you don’t know.

4) Never drink from someone else’s drink, offered to you or you pick theirs.

5) Stick a drinks coaster on your drinks and put something on top to keep it on their like a hair band.

6) follow your hunch, anything different to your drink, don’t risk it, just get another.

HOW MY SOS FAMILY CAN HELP IMPROVE YOUR SAFETY

7) The My SOS Family App is a great safety tool to have when on a date, if you’ve not used it before, we highly recommend downloading it (link on mobile devices) and because everyone gets a free no obligation 30-day trial you could use it on those first few dates , find the love of your life and never need to upgrade / subscribe.

The My SOS Family App SOS countdown timer feature helps on those dates for example; you expect the date to last 2 hours, simply set it for 2 hours 15 minutes and add your message of who you are with and where you are, you can even take or add a photo of your date to the message – Tip: if your blind date refuses or objects to having their photo or video taken on a date – that’s a real non no warning sign.

The My SOS Family App SOS Countdown timer stores the photo and message and your location in your My SOS Family cloud account and starts the countdown timer in the cloud.

This means if you have been drugged, you won’t remember to cancel the timer in 2 hours and 15 minutes (or whatever time you selected) and your friends, family or co-workers will know there is a problem as they’ll be alerted, they’ll have all the vital information including your location and can come to your rescue.

My SOS Family App SOS Countdown timer works in the cloud, so it doesn’t matter if your phone has been switched off or taken, alerts will be sent out to everyone on your emergency contact list.

If you would like references to the statistics or would like more information about My SOS Family please email info@mysosfamily.com or get in touch with us from the contact information at the footer of our website.

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