Date Rape Drugs Essay, Research Paper
Health Promotion : Date Rape Drugs
The issue of substances used to facilitate date rape is one that deserves a great deal of attention. Over the years, there has been a dramatic increase in reports of drug misuse leading to sexual assault. It is necessary for everyone to be aware of the general threat of substance misuse and what to do if they think that they have been drugged. It is also important that people know how to keep a look out for drinks that have been tampered with so that they can take the appropriate measures to make sure that these drinks are not consumed. For these reasons, I believe that a health promotion program needs to be planned and implemented to address these issues and combat the problem of date rape. I have planned a program which follows the Comprehensive Health Education Model and which is grounded in the Social Cognitive Theory. It is based on extensive research that I have summarized below on the topic of date rape drugs and their effects.
Sedating substances are used to enhance the effects of alcohol and/or other drugs and to diminish inhibitions. Although there are many sedating substances linked with date rape, my research will focus on the two main drugs associated with this topic, GHB and Rohypnol.
In recent years, GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate) has become a popular recreational drug found mostly at raves and night clubs. For this reason, young people go to these places are the most vulnerable group and are most likely to benefit from a program of this type. GHB is a central nervous system depressant available in both liquid and powder forms which is used as an anaesthetic in some countries. However, it is illegal in Canada and smuggled into the country where it is sold for approximately ten dollars per dose. The drug may also be known as “Liquid Ecstasy”, “Liquid X”, “Georgia Home Boy”, ” Easy Lay”, “Soap” and “Grevious Bodily Harm”. It is often used in combination with other drugs such as ecstasy. GHB induces a state of relaxation which can be felt within five to twenty minutes after it is ingested. This state feels similar to being drunk, but at the same time, clear headed with no subsequent hangover. The “high” lasts about one and a half to three hours. GHB is odourless and tasteless. Due to this fact, it is very difficult to detect when slipped into a drink. It is very important for people to be aware of how to reduce their risk of being drugged with GHB so that they can maximize their chances of avoiding date rape.
Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a sedative which is prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Like GHB, it is illegal in Canada but smuggled into the country where it is distributed in the form of tablets and sold for about four to five dollars per tablet. Each tablet is white in colour and individually bubble-wrapped with the name Roche and the number one or two engraved on its surface indicating its dosage in milligrams. It is used to decrease inhibition and is usually mixed into fruit drinks or alcoholic beverages. It is also similar to GHB in the fact that it has no odour or taste. Frequently, it is sold at raves and night clubs. Rohypnol’s effects begin within three minutes after ingestion, peak within two hours and persist for up to eight hours. It induces a reduction in anxiety and muscular relaxation. When served to women, Rohypnol produces sedation and reduces the will to resist sexual advances. About ten minutes after ingestion, the woman may feel dizzy and disoriented, simultaneously too hot and too cold, and nauseated. She may experience difficulty moving and speaking, and she will eventually pass out. After waking up, she will have no recollection of what happened to her while under the drug’s influence. Rohypnol is the most common date rape drug.
As I have demonstrated above, GHB and Rohypnol are very dangerous date rape drugs and everyone should be aware of their effects. The individuals who I believe are at the highest risk of being subjected to this problem, and who I wish to target are highschool and undergraduate university/college students, women in particular. My planning committee will include a faculty member from the institutions that I wish to present at and perhaps a member of the board of education or ministry of health. Since these are the prospective stakeholders, it is important to get members that represent them. I also wish to have students who have been affected by date rape drugs themselves to be presenting the program. Sharing their own experiences as well as providing information on how to stay away from these drugs seems to be an effective method to increase the awareness of the target population. I will also try to include parents of those who have been affected on my planning committee, as they would be likely to offer maximal support and be dedication to the program. The support and commitment of the people whose lives have been affected by the topic at hand will be what makes the program successful and realistic.
The next step in developing this program is to set appropriate goals. My goal is to ensure that the target population understands the seriousness of this problem and how it relates to their individual lives. I would also like to equip them with education, strategies and skills so that they know how to avoid being drugged, how to recognize the symptoms of being drugged, and how to deal with being drugged. If my program is successful, these individuals will actually put the skills which they have been taught into practice when they are at social settings which require them to take these actions.
Next, the problems must be defined. The most important aspect of the program is to tackle health education resources. The more educated the target population, the more chance there is of minimizing the problem. We need to make the participants aware of what to expect and empower each one with the knowledge to take responsibility over their own health. The approach I wish to take is to have the student representatives of the program team speak at various schools, universities and colleges across the province, and if successful, then across the country. The speakers will talk to the students about wise practices, and how to recognize symptoms of being drugged, as well as share their own personal experiences with the drugs to provide a more realistic picture of what actually happens when they are consumed. I have outlined a few strategies that will help reduce the risk of date rape in social situations. The student representatives will discuss each one with the group and a pamphlet summarizing them would be distributed to the group following the presentation. The recommendations of strategies are as follows:
1. Alcohol consumption should be limited so that one is aware of their surroundings, especially if one is in a group setting or with someone whom they do not know well or trust. Do not take any tablets from anyone. Know what rohypnol tablets look like.
2. Do not mix drinks. This may increase sedating effects if drugged.
3. Eat a good amount of food before consuming alcohol. A full stomach may help curb sedating effects.
4. When drinking alcohol in social settings, make arrangements with a friend to leave with them. Make sure that you stay close to your friends so that you can get help if necessary.
5. NEVER leave your drink unattended.
6. Do not take a drink from someone you do not know or trust. Infact, one should only accept drinks from a bartender or server. Remember that drugged beverages are not always alcoholic.
7. Know how to recognize symptoms. If you experience dizziness, extreme drowsiness, or other sudden and unexplained symptoms, call someone that you can trust and go to a hospital emergency room immediately. Try to retain a sample of the beverage for testing.
8. Learn the street and rave names of GHB and Rohypnol so you know when people are referring to them using these names.
It is essential that these strategies be brought to the attention of the target population. At this point, before proceeding to the next step, I will conduct a pre-test. Perhaps we could present to a group of 10-12 students who may include friends or siblings of members of the planning committee and get their suggestions and feedback so that we can improve our program. When this is completed and we feel that the program is strong, we must make sure we have the appropriate resources to make the program available. For this, I would need to contact the stakeholders. These are members of Boards of education, the Ministry of Health and the heads of universities and colleges. I will then present my program rationale. Due to lack of space, I will not be able to discuss my rationale in this paper. If my rationale is accepted, and the stakeholders provide me with the funding for this program, I can proceed with the plan of action. I will ask the stakeholders to arrange a time and place for the program to take place. At this point in time I would create an evaluation form which I will ask each student to fill out after each program to determine its effectiveness. I will then divide and assign certain tasks and duties to my crew members and once the program is organized, it will finally be ready for implementation.
After the program has been implemented and the evaluation forms have been completed, I would analyze the data received. This information will help me to determine to what extent the objectives of the program were achieved, the activities carried out, and the resources used as planned. From this analysis, I will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the program, the perceived importance of the program and whether it is worthwhile to expand it to a national level. If I do not find that it is sufficient, it will be revised and carried out once again.
Drug-Free Resource Net. (1998). GHB. http://www.drugfreeamerica.org/ghb.html
Drug-Free Resource Net. (1998). Rohypnol. http://www.drugfreeamerica.org/roofies.html
Emergency Response & Research Institute. (1996). ‘Roofies’, The New “Date Rape” Drug of Choice. http://www.emergency.com/roofies.htm
Ledray, E., Linda. (1996). Date rape drug alert. The Journal of Emergency Nursing, Volume 22 (1), 80.
McKenzie, F., James., Smeltzer, L., Jan. (1997). Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (1995). Fact Sheet on Rohypnol. http://www.health.org/pubs/factsht/rohypnol.htm
Schwartz, H., Richard., Weaver, B., Andrea. (1998). Rohypnol, The Date Rape Drug. Clinical Pediatrics, Volume 37 (5), 321.
The Metro Toronto Research Group On Drug Use. (1996). Facts on Rohypnol. http://sano.arf.org/geninfo/rohypnol.htm
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Public Health Service. (1997). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. http://www.emergency.com/ghb-2.htm
U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. (1998). Flunitrazepam – Rohypnol. http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/rohypnol/rohypnol.htm