Date rape drug a danger at Ryerson

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By Irene Papakonstantinou

Rohypnol, the pill known as the date rape drug, has been used on at least one woman at Ryerson.

Ryerson’s Student Health Centre has encountered at least one victim.

“Any trace of the drug clears the system quickly. Blood and urine sample should be taken within 24 hours of exposure,” said Dr. David Lowe, of the Health Centre.

Complete blackouts combined with amnesia lasting up to 12 hours can take effect half an hour after the drug has been consumed.

Rohypnol is not legally available in Canada or the U.S., but it is an approved medicine in most other parts of the world, prescribed mainly for the short-term treatment of sleep disorders.

“The date rap drug is readily available in the States, and if flowing into Canada,” said Dr. Lowe.

There has been a rash of reported cases in the Hamilton-Windsor area recently. Since the drug is easier to get a hold of in the U.S., the use of Rohypnol has been more common in border cities.

Rohypnol, also known as Roofies or Rachies, costs only $2 to $5, and is 10 times more potent than the tranquilizer Valium.

“It’s all a matter of using common sense,” said Lowe. “Don’t leave your drink unattended, don’t accept drinks from strangers and go out with people you know and trust.”

Chris Benninger, a Ryerson security officer, has posted and information page on campus and in residence to inform students.

He suggests carrying all drinks in plastic “squeeze-type bottles” and not drinking anything that has a unusual taste or appearance.

The makers of the drug are now producing a version that changes colour in alcohol, but the original version is still out there in vast quantities.

 

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