The Double Lives of Date Rape Drugs

Many date rape drugs can be used for good

 

Date rape drugs are shocking and inexcusable. To deliberately spike a drink in order to have unwanted sexual relations with them is unmoral and criminal. Nobody should do it but unfortunately we live in a world where some people use virtually undetectable drugs to make others more malleable, even though they are not consciously aware of their actions. However, some people don’t realise just how common some of these drugs are, and also how they can be used for good on a daily basis.

 

Potentially the most easily available date rape drug is Ketamine. It is a colourless liquid which is virtually undetectable when added to a drink, hence why it is so dangerous. It makes victims lethargic and therefore less resistant to sexual assault. Ketamine actually works by inhibiting rapid neurotransmission in the brain, thus reducing how easily people are able to move. It essentially acts competitively against the actual chemicals which work at the neurotransmitters in order to reduce how efficiently the connections work. However, Ketamine does have uses. Ketamine is a commonly used animal tranquiliser, given how it allows drowsiness to take hold. This is what makes it more easily available, and is one of the reasons why TV shows etc show criminals robbing drugs cabinets in veterinary surgeries. The easiest way Ketamine makes it into the hands of predators is through being stolen from clinics. If you’ve ever had a pet undergo an anaesthetic (or even you, as it can be used in hospitals too), then it is highly likely that Ketamine was used. Some may therefore find it surprising that such a useful clinical drug can be abused in such a way. In fact, Ketamine is currently being trialled to help patients with Depression, and scientists appear to be making some progress in using it as a way of helping patients to alleviate this condition. This is obviously wonderful for sufferers of such problems, but the fact remains that it could potentially make it more accessible to predators.

 

Midazolam is another date rape drug which has origins as a tranquiliser. Furthermore, it can be used to treat anxiety and seizures. It works in a similar way to Valium, which is commonly used medically as a relaxant. I’m sure you’ve known someone who has taken Valium, or have taken it yourself. However, when administered in a non-clinical setting as a date rape drug, these drugs can cause confusion and drowsiness. They are usually slipped into drinks as a liquid or tablets which have been crushed into a powder. Midazolam and Valium work by increasing the release of the neurotransmitter GABA. To put it in a simple context, GABA makes us drowsy by altering how polarised the neurotransmitters in our brains are. In Valium especially this leads to reduced contraction of muscles, hence the state of relaxation which a person enters if the drug is taken in an appropriate clinically approved dose. If too much is given, it is easy to see how a person could become victim to assault as they are powerless to defend themselves against an aggressor. In fact, if given in too lethal a combination or dose, these drugs can have terrifying consequences. Earlier on this year, midazolam made the news regarding its use as part of lethal injections on death row in America. A drug which acts in a similar way, Rohypnol, actually has clinical uses in treating severe insomnia. It can be terrifying to think that drugs which have initially been developed to help patients have a better quality of life by reducing their symptoms can also be used to torture or end their lives, depending on who it is administering them.

 

So there is a quick summary on the double lives of date rape drugs. Drugs tend to all lead double lives, where they can be used for good just as easily as they can be used for bad. And this is before any talk of addiction even appears. Date rape is a notion which nobody should have to go through, and yet so many people face, potentially without even remembering the event. This is why there is increased interest in the development and promotion of new technologies which can detect certain date rape drugs (such as Ketamine) including coasters and nail varnish. These technologies shouldn’t have to exist, but unfortunately we live in a world where nobody is safe on a night out. So keep your drink to yourself, and remember that these drugs are not necessarily hard to come by, given that they all lead double lives…

 

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