OpEd: Be vigilant about the risk of drug-related sexual assault

OpEd by Kern County Sheriff’s Sergeant Mark Brown

Several reports have been made regarding possible drug-related sexual assaults in this region since November. The Kern County District Attorney’s Office has not yet filed charges, but Sgt. Mark Brown has researched and compiled this information to help residents stay safe and stay vigilant about this risk.

These are facts we all need to know about predatory rape drugs.

•Alcohol is the number one predatory drug used today.
Alcohol dulls the senses, inhibits clear thinking, distorts judgment, can cause blackouts and can cause loss of physical control and consciousness.

Three other predatory drugs are commonly referred to as “date rape” drugs:

•Rohypnol is a potent tranquilizer that produces a sedative effect, amnesia, muscle relaxation and slowing of psychomotor response. The pill is distributed in 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 milligram form (restrictions are now placed on the 2 mg form). It is colorless, odorless, tasteless and dissolves without leaving any traces. It takes effect about 10 to 20 minutes after ingestion.

Street Names: Roofies, Rope, Ruffies, R2, Ruffles, Roche, Forget-pill.

Effect: Rohypnol can be added to any liquid and the effect lasts 2 to 8 hours—but when added to alcohol it produces disinhibition and amnesia lasting 8 to 24 hours.

Some people use Rohypnol in alcohol for a rapid high. Watch for this in social settings if individuals seem extremely intoxicated after consuming only a small amount of alcohol.

Detection: Rohypnol can be detected in the blood for 24 hours and in the urine for 48 hours.

The manufacturer, Hoffman-La Roche, is changing the formula so trace particles or a color will appear when Rohypnol is dissolved.

•GHB is an odorless, colorless liquid depressant with anesthetic qualities. It is used as an amino acid by bodybuilders. GHB is usually distributed as a sodium salt in powder or tablet form commonly dissolved in water. This drug gives a feeling of relaxation, tranquillity, sensuality and loss of inhibitions (especially for women).

GHB takes effect 10 to 15 minutes after ingestion and lasts 2 to 3 hours. If combined with alcohol, the effect may last 20 to 30 hours. Large doses can induce sudden sleep within 5 to 10 minutes.

Street Names: Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Scoop, Easy Lay.

•Ketamine: This is a relatively new drug added to the predator drug category. It is a powerful anesthetic used as an animal tranquilizer. It is available in liquid, powder or pill form.

Street Names: Special K, K, Cat Valium, Super C, Jet, Super Acid, Green
Effect: Ketamine causes hallucinations, amnesia and dissociation (a feeling in which the mind feels separated from the body).

• Simple things you should do to protect yourself from predatory drug rape:

1) Never leave your drink unattended.
2) Never drink anything out of a punch bowl or a stranger’s glass.
3) Never accept a drink from a person you do not know and trust.
4) Always drink with trusted friends, and never become separated from them.

• Simple things you should do to prevent your friend from becoming a victim of predatory drug rape:

1) Monitor the behavior of others in your group, especially those who appear to be more intoxicated than the amount of alcohol they consumed warrants.

2) If you hear someone “kidding” about date rape or predatory drugs, pay attention. That could be a warning for you or your group to leave. Rape is not a subject to joke about.

•If you wake in the morning and believe you were drugged the night before:

1) See a doctor immediately.

2) Request a drug screen. Measurable amounts of a predatory drug may be out of your system within 8 to 10 hours.

•If you wake in the morning and believe you may have been raped without your knowledge the night before:

1) Report it immediately to your local law enforcement. Even though you may be uncertain about what happened the night before, critical physical evidence may be lost if you wait to report it.

2) They will help you seek medical assistance at a medical facility able to conduct a sexual assault exam. Don’t waste critical time. San Joaquin Hospital at 2615 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield 93301 is the only hospital in this region that does these exams now. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and Kern Medical Center do not.

This is part of the August 8, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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