Officials ask public to be aware of date-rape drugs

Officials ask public to be aware of date-rape drugs

POSTED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 7:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 7:04pm

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso urges the public to exercise caution when it comes to consuming beverages at bars and clubs because of date-rape drugs.

Mancuso said he's alarmed by the number of cases CPSO believes date-rape drugs were a factor in. For 2011 there were 14 cases where the drug is expected to be a factor and within the first couple months of 2012, at least three cases have been suspected to involve the drug.

"These drugs are really quite powerful and they work quite fast," Mancuso said. "Within some cases [the drug works] 15 to 30 minutes and they'll last two to three hours."

Because of the short amount of time the drug stays in the system, Mancuso said this makes most date-rape cases hard to prove. But within that amount of time, it's easy for the "criminal" to take advantage of the person.

The drug is slipped into drinks typically at bars and clubs. Drugs like Rohypnol, or "roofies", Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, and Ketamine Hydrochloride. Roofies are illegal in the United States and GHB is banned. Ketamine is used in hospital setting.

These three drugs can cause loss of consciousness and may impair decision-making.

"To not be able to say no and not be able to resist, that's scary," Mancuso said.

Mancuso said he wants people to go out with friends they trust. He urges people to stay with friends and leave the venues with friends. "Don't ever leave with a stranger," he said.

"This is a simple remedy to take care of if people follow these few steps," he said. "I'm just asking them to be aware of it. It scares me as a father, and as a Sheriff it's hard to prove."

Mancuso said if caught with any of these drugs it can land you in jail anywhere from five to 50 years. If someone is caught taking advantage of someone, like rape, that penalty will also be added.

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