Getting drugged is a horrifying experience that can turn a fun night out into a living nightmare. People who drink spiked beverages often lose control of their actions and become disoriented or black out, making them easy victims of robbery, violence and sexual assault. If you overdose or can’t protect yourself from a perpetrator, you may die from getting spiked.
Health data shows that while 50% of spiking occurs in clubs and bars, it can also happen at home if a friend, relative, date, romantic partner or spouse takes advantage of your trust to put something in your drink.
Most people don’t know roofie symptoms, so you may wonder, “How do I know if I was drugged?”
Follow along as the experts from Sunlight Recovery outline the symptoms of being drugged and what to do if you consume a spiked drink.
How Do I Know If I Was Drugged?
Most spiking perpetrators use colorless, odorless, tasteless drugs that quickly dissolve in water, juice or alcohol. However, learning the symptoms of the most common date rape drugs can help you tell when you’ve been drugged so you can seek help before things get worse.
Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB)
GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy or scoop, is a tasteless and odorless white pill, powder or colorless liquid that can quickly dissolve in a drink. The drug is a depressant that, when taken, produces a sedative effect that slows your bodily functions and lowers your defenses. GHB can also make you black out and forget what happens while under its influence.
The common symptoms of GHB spiking include:
- Dizziness and drowsiness
The effects of GHB can kick in within 10 minutes and last for up to 7 hours. The drug can be detected in saliva 6 hours after it’s first taken, while a blood test can show its presence 8 hours after the fact. GHB takes 12 hours to become undetectable in urine, but a hair test can show positive 30 days after it enters your system.
Rohypnol is a date rape drug that gave spiking the nickname roofieing. It’s one of the brand names for a group of benzodiazepines called flunitrazepams, known for their ability to treat severe insomnia.
Flunitrazepams usually take the form of tasteless and odorless white tablets that quickly dissolve in liquids. However, Rohypnol now comes as a light green tablet that releases a blue dye when dissolved in a clear liquid.
Rohypnol and other flunitrazepams can relax your muscles, loosen your inhibitions and make you unconscious. Other symptoms of Rohypnol drugging include:
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of muscle control
- Difficulty seeing and speaking
Rohypnol’s effects can kick in within 30 minutes of taking it and last up to 12 hours.
Ketamine, Special K or Kit Kat is a bitter and odorless clear liquid or off-white powder that affects your bodily coordination.
You may feel these effects for up to an hour of taking ketamine:
- Restlessness and agitation
- High blood pressure and heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Respiratory failure
Alcohol is the most common date rape drug because it’s involved in most spiking cases and intensifies the sedative effects of other spiking drugs.
You can get spiked with alcohol if someone adds it to your juice, soda or mocktail, causing you to experience:
- Reduced breathing and heart rate
- Declining body temperature
- Emotional instability
- Poor coordination
- Delayed reaction time
- Loosened inhibitions
- Coma or death
The Role of Friends and Bystanders in Identifying Signs
The people around you are invaluable for noticing your roofie symptoms and getting you the necessary assistance, so use alcohol and other recreational drugs around people you trust. You should also have easy access to emergency contacts who can quickly aid you if you get roofied.
If planning a night out at a bar, club or other social venue, pick a trusted sober companion among your friends to keep your group safe. The sober friend should know the symptoms of being drugged so they can offer protection if your behavior changes.
If you get roofied when you’re alone, approach a bartender, security personnel or a host and say, “I think I was drugged.” Asking a specific person for assistance overrides the bystander effect, which can further endanger your life.
Immediate Actions to Take If You Suspect You’ve Been Drugged
Getting to safety is the most important thing to do when you’ve been roofied.
If you start feeling strange at a social event, request to be put in a safe place away from the crowd so you’re not in further danger from the perpetrator. Contact emergency services immediately before your symptoms get out of hand.
If you wake up with gaps in your memories or experience symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and high blood pressure after drinking, get a taxi to the nearest emergency room for proper care.
Seeking Medical Assistance and Reporting the Incident
It’s normal to want to forget a spiking experience, particularly if you experienced further trauma such as sexual assault. However, putting the incident behind you won’t improve the situation, especially since the drugs or assault could cause other health problems.
If you get drugged, seek medical assistance immediately. Go to the emergency room or speak with your primary care provider about the incident to undergo testing and receive medication to deal with the potential health effects of the trauma.
Getting roofied isn’t your fault or a crime on your part, so don’t be afraid to report the incident to the police. If you were sexually assaulted, you don’t have to give the police a statement about the event. However, providing a sample as soon as possible can strengthen law enforcement’s search for the perpetrator and improve the strength of the evidence if you decide to place criminal charges.
Relying on your support system is a necessary part of dealing with the aftermath of drugging. Spending time with your loved ones and discussing the experience can be cathartic. Speaking with mental health professionals can also help you process the effects of the drugging event.
Sunlight Recovery offers various forms of mental health therapy for processing trauma and dealing with the effects of consuming addictive drugs, such as alcohol and ketamine.
Contact us today to learn about programs that can help you deal with the mental and physical effects of getting drugged.