CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There is a group of drugs that certain sick individuals are using against others. They are nicknamed "Date Rape Drugs."
Be on the lookout for these substances -- the three most often used to knock out innocent victims are GHB, Rohypnol and ketamine. All three have some medical uses, but in the hands of evil people, they are lethal weapons. Some people take these drugs to get high or have a new, strange experience. It can be a fatal choice with GHB, Rohypnol, or Ketamine because a deadly overdose can occur extremely easily.
GHB (gamma hydroxy-butyrate) is chemically similar to a substance found in every cell in the body. This does not mean it is safe. GHB is a depressant, so it slows the brain and body. Using any depressant without a doctor's supervision is hazardous. In the past, GHB was used to treat childbirth problems and anxiety. Some weightlifters claim it builds muscle, but no scientific studies have proven that. GHB was outlawed in 1990 because of the ease of overdose and addiction.
In small doses, GHB produces a mild sedative effective, slowed heart and breathing rates, inability to think quickly and logically, and physical weakness. Repeated use can lead to addiction and tough withdrawal. Too much can cause seizures, coma or death. Street names include G, Liquid Ecstasy, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Gamma G and Growth Hormone Booster. GHB is usually found in liquid, which users sip from bottle caps. The drug is clear and odorless and tastes like salt water, but the taste can be covered up by mixing it with a sweet or strong-flavored drink.
Rohypnol is the brand name for flunitrazepam, a surgical anesthetic used by doctors around the world. It is 10 times more powerful than most sleeping pills and is illegal in the United States and Canada.
Rohypnol causes muscle relaxation, unconsciousness and amnesia. If can be addictive, and people in withdrawal often suffer seizures. Rohypnol is very dangerous, especially if taken with other sedatives such as alcohol.
Rohypnol tablets may be called Roofies, Roach, Roofenol, Roche, Roll-And-Fall, or the Forget-Me Pill. The pills are usually round, white and labeled "Roche," with a circled number "1" or "2." Sometimes the pills are ground into powder. Rohypnol dissolves quickly in liquid. It has a bitter taste, but its taste can be mostly covered.
Ketamine is also a surgical anesthetic and was developed in the 1960s. It is closely related to PCP. Both are called "dissociatives," which means they cause a splitting from reality. Ketamine is legal for use by veterinarians. It causes unconsciousness, hallucinations, loss of body control and numbing. It can also cause agitation, confusion and difficulty communicating. Overdose can be fatal.
Some street names are Special K, Vitamin K, Ketaject, and Cat Tranquilizers. Ketamine is found in a white powder or in a liquid in small pharmaceutical bottles. It has a horrible, strong, bitter flavor and acts quickly. Act fast if you taste it in your drink or you will lose consciousness.
Maddox is president and founder of Drug and Alcohol Presentations Inc.