Angie Foust had heard about rape and date rape drugs. However, she thought if someone tried to sexually assault her, she would be able to do something to prevent it. She couldn’t.
In August 2000, Foust was drugged and raped by a former high school friend, believed to have given her a high dose of GHB (Gamma-hydrozy-butyrate), a fast acting central nervous system depressant that rendered Foust incapable of resisting the assault.
“I thought you would always be able to make the choice to fight back when it was about to happen,” said Foust. “The next thing I remember was waking up with him on top of me... I felt sick and needed to go back to sleep... and don’t remember much more.”
Foust does not recall many details of the incident but remembers driving home the next morning and still feeling drunk. A few days passed before she finally told her best friend and went to the police. She was examined for traces of the drug used but not much showed up.
That’s because Predatory Drugs Ketamine, GHB, and Rohypnol notorious as drugs used to facilitate sexual assaults, are metabolized quickly in the body, leaving little physical evidence. Victims may not be aware that they ingested a drug at all because they are invisible, odorless, and tasteless when dissolved in beverages such as sodas, juice, or liquor.
Foust’s assailant was arrested for rape but because there was no physical evidence, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 6 months probation after his case got plea bargained to a misdemeanor sexual battery.
“It was my word against his,” said Foust, a teacher, who is now training to become a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention counselor.
Foust will probably never know where the drug used to assault her came from. However, there’s a strong possibility they could have come from south of the border. That’s because Ketamine, Rohypnol, and GHB are readily available in Mexico.
“They are easily available across the border. People buy them at pharmacies or feed stores,” said David Johnson, Chief Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. “Ketamine is the one we see being smuggled the most. Any time we interdict, we seize the drugs... and depending on the situation the person is subject to arrest.”
“People need to be aware that this could happen to them, especially since these drugs are readily available in Mexico,” said Jennifer Wheeler, Prevention Specialist with Social Advocates for Youth-San Diego. “People are in the dark about these drugs, especially the dangers. They should know that Predatory Drugs and other club drugs are not safe. People have died,” added Wheeler, who, together with community residents and youth will be passing warning cards with emergency phone numbers and information, in English and Spanish, on how to prevent sexual assaults.
Event participants also offered a list of ways for people to protect themselves wherever they are. Among them:
• If you leave your drink unattended, discard it
• Drink it only if you opened it
• Watch your drink being poured
• Make sure safety caps are sealed
• Don’t share/exchange drinks
• Don’t drink from punch bowls
• Tell a friend if you feel “drugged”
• Call 911, it could save your life
“These drugs are not only used for rape. They are also used recreationally, some times with devastating results,” said Tracy Gamble from the San Diego Club Drug Task Force, established to advance awareness of the danger of club drugs by increasing communication among diverse community sectors on the latest information, research, and harm caused by club drugs and providing a network for advocacy efforts.
Ecstasy, Methamphetamine, GHB, Ketamine, Rohypnol, and LSD can produce a range of unwanted harmful effects, including death. And when used in combination with each other, these substances can be even more harmful.
For additional information on Predatory Drugs and the “Exposing the Rave” campaign, visit www.midcitycan.org or call (619) 283-9624.