You wake up after a hard night of partying at your favorite bar or a friend’s party. You remember drinking a lot, but the rest of the night is pretty much a blur. You feel hung over, but it is a lot worse than you have ever felt before.

Was it just one too many shots or could it have been something else?

It could be that you were slipped a date-rape drug by someone hoping to, or someone who did, take advantage of your weakened state.

According to the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center (SARP), there are strong indications that drugs such as Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine are present in the county. The SARP Center has received calls from men and women saying they have been dosed at local bars, clubs and parties.

Although extremely underreported, drug-facilitated rapes are prevalent and a very real threat to college-aged women. It is important to point out that if someone is drugged or sexually assaulted, it is not their fault. However, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your friends.

The first step in prevention is education. Drug-facilitated sexual assaults occur when predators use drugs to compromise their victims’ ability to refuse sexual interactions and to minimize their victims’ memory of the attack. These types of sexual assaults are difficult to document because victims may not be aware they ingested a drug at all.

Date-rape drugs cause victims to become physically helpless, unable to refuse sex or consent to it and unable to remember what happened. The drugs are hard to detect in drinks because they have no color, taste or smell and can easily be added without the victim’s knowledge.

According to the SARP Center, Rohypnol and GHB are the most commonly-used drugs in the area.

Rohypnol is a small white tablet that dissolves quickly in liquid. The drug takes effect within 30 minutes of ingestion and can last for more than eight hours. Rohypnol can cause memory impairment, muscle relaxation, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness and nausea.

GHB comes in liquid, powder and tablet form. It is the only one of the three drugs that can be made at home, so the effects are often unpredictable. The drug takes effect within 15 minutes of ingestion and can last three to four hours. GHB sedates the body and slows breathing and heart rate. It can lead to intense drowsiness, hampered mobility, verbal incoherence, nausea, headache and loss of consciousness.

A third drug that is rising in popularity is Ketamine. Also known as Special K, the drug comes in a liquid or white powder. Dosed individuals feel detached from their bodies and surroundings so that while they may be aware of what is happening, they are unable to resist. The drug can also cause dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, disorientation, impaired motor skills and loss of consciousness.

These facts are very frightening, but there is something you can do. Prevention is easy, just follow these tips:

Watch your drink and others’ drinks.

Do not leave your drink unattended.

Do not accept a drink you did not see poured.

Always carry your drink yourself.

Do not drink out of a punchbowl or container being passed around.

Do not drink anything that has an unusual taste.

Never leave your friends behind at a bar or party.

Many individuals do not realize they have been drugged because the symptoms mirror those of intoxication. If you are drugged or think you have been drugged, get to a safe place and call 911, the SARP Center at 545-8888 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Nicole Stivers is a journalism senior and Becca Swanson is a psychology senior, both are Mustang Daily guest columnists.

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