Drugs and alcohol

On college and university campuses, alcohol and drugs are two of the most significant risk factors for sexual violence. In fact, alcohol is the most commonly used substance in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. The second most common is marijuana. Other substances include prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and date-rape drugs. Attackers use these substances to avoid seeking consent or to render a victim unable to resist the assault.

Learn more about how to party and be safe and about the steps to follow if you think you have been drugged.

Symptoms and effects

There are a number of symptoms exhibited by a person that has been drugged. Note, however, that the effects can vary from one person to another. Symptoms can be similar to those of being drunk, even if you’ve consumed little or no alcohol.

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired judgement
  • Inability to stay awake; unconsciousness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Memory loss, amnesia
  • Nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting

Date-rape drugs

“Date-rape” drugs are used to lessen a person’s ability to resist sexual assault or to render a person unconscious. The table below provides information on some of the more commonly used drugs.

  GHB
(gamma-hydroxybutrate)“G” or “Liquid X”
Ketamine“K” or “Special K” Rohypnol“Roofies” or “the forget pill”
Onset
  • 15 to 20 minutes
  • Immediate
  • 20 to 30 minutes
Duration
  • Several hours
  • Up to five hours
  • Usually one hour
  • Up to 24 hours
  • Usually eight hours 
Appearance
  • Liquid
  • Liquid
  • White powder
  •  Small round white pill with the word “Roche” on it
  • Green oval-shaped pill with “542” on it
Characteristics
  • Colourless and odourless
  • Bitter; salty or soapy taste (when dissolved)
  • Odourless
  • Very bad taste
  • Odourless and tasteless (when dissolved)
  • Makes liquid blue or dark
Possible effects
  • Respiratory depression
  • Vomiting
  •  Trance-like state
  • Numbness
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Serious intoxication
  • Memory loss

These drugs are illegal and can result in death if mixed with alcohol.

Tools and resources

Please note that the feminine is used throughout this website, but it does not exclude any person who has been a victim of sexual violence.

Back to top