Drug-assisted rape is pre-mediated rape. It often happens in an informal social setting, such as a bar, party or dance. Most commonly the rapist, or accessory, doses the drink of the victim with a colourless, tasteless and odourless substance that quickly renders them incapable of resisting unwanted sexual advances. The perpetrator may also offer the drug disguised as a "party drug" that is snorted or ingested.
Date rape drugs are strong relaxants, the effects of which include loss of coordination, impaired judgement, blackouts and coma, which may be felt within several minutes after administration. Common date rape rugs are the central nervous system depressants rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine.
The following symptoms may indicate a person has ingested a date-rape drug: (a) feelings of dizziness, confusion or other sudden and unexplainable symptoms after drinking a beverage; (b) exhibiting a level of intoxication incongruous with the amount of alcohol the person is known to have been drinking; (c) overly promiscuous or sexually aggressive behaviour uncharacteristic of the victim; (d) extensive vomiting; (e) loss of consciousness or coma-like symptoms; and (f) seizures.
Some date rape drugs remain in the system for only a few hours; others can be detected days later.
The US Congress passed the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act in October 1996. This legislation increased Federal penalties for use of any controlled substance to aid in sexual assault.