'Date rape drugs' on rise in Israel

By
April 5, 2006 05:13

Club owners blamed for not fighting drugs that erase rape victims' memory.

3 minute read.



rape drug 88

rape drug 88. (photo credit: )

The Association of Rape Crisis Centers slammed nightclub owners Tuesday as those primarily responsible for the growing number of druginduced rapes. Sharon Mayevski, spokeswoman for the association, told The Jerusalem Post that "club owners need to take more responsibility for what is going on inside their premises. They need to see what they can do to make sure their place of entertainment is safe, that drinks are not drugged and that an atmosphere of sleaze and sex does not prevail." Mayevski's comments come five days after police discovered 13 bottles of alcohol contaminated with the date rape drug GHB in the possession of Tel Aviv nightclub owner Pinhas Haim. She said that to stop druginduced rapes, nightclub, bar and pub owners needed to change their sex-oriented "ideologies" and be more vigilant. She also said that there was little awareness about the relatively new drug among the police or in hospitals. "How many hospitals in Israel know about this drug I am not sure. Checks need to be carried out as soon as the victim arrives - and that costs money," said Mayevski. Only two hospitals - Wolfson in Holon and Bnai Zion in Haifa - are fully equipped to deal with rape victims, she said. "The notion of the rape drug in Israel was only realized about a year and half ago," said Dr. Sigi Rotmensch, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Wolfson and head of the National Center for Treatment of Sexual Assault in Israel. "We suddenly started seeing women at the clinic who appeared to have been raped but could not remember how, where or when. They might have been at a bar or a party and without getting completely drunk, started feeling funny, nauseous or drowsy. Six or seven hours later they would wake up and not know what had happened to them." Over the past year, the center has seen more than 20 cases that were likely caused by the date rape drug. "These drugs decrease the willpower of women and cause amnesia. The injustice here is not the rape but that the woman cannot even testify to what has happened to her," Rotmensch said. Following his findings at the center, he alerted the police to the drug, which is already well-known in Europe and the US. "In the US, there is a very heavy punishment for administering these drugs, but in Israel the drug was not even illegal until recently," he said. According to US government sources, authorities know of at least three date rape drugs: GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid), which can come in the form of a liquid, powder or pill; Rohypnol, a pill that dissolves into liquids; and Ketamine, a white powder. The drugs often have no color, smell or taste and are easily added to flavored drinks without the victim's knowledge. They are also very difficult to detect, and leave the system quickly. To date, no one in Israel has been convicted for administering the drug and then raping a victim. Rotmensch said that authorities have been very slow to recognize the lethal effects of date rape drugs. He said that requests to provide analysis of this drug at the Israel Toxicology Center in Tel Hashomer were initially rejected and that only recently was the drug made illegal. Yediot Aharonot reported last year that Israel had received complaints from Interpol that one of the biggest manufacturers of GHB in Western Europe lived in Israel. However, until the drug was classified as illegal, police could not arrest and charge the suspect. Because it is so difficult to prove that this drug was used, Rotmensch said, the only way to stop it from claiming more rape victims was for women to be vigilant of their surroundings. "Women need to be cognizant of the drug," he said. "They should never drink from an already open bottle and never leave their drink unattended, even when going to the bathroom." However, Mayevski cautioned, even with such preventative methods, everyone was a potential target of the date rape drug. "You can be as careful as possible but this kind of situation still might happen," she said. "To change what is going on here, we need to raise awareness of this drug. There need to be changes in the police force, hospitals, schools and places of entertainment."

  • Don't accept drinks from strangers.
  • Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you dance or go to the bathroom.
  • Don't drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Sometimes GHB tastes salty.
  • Have a non-drinking friend with you.
  • If you think that you have been drugged and raped: Go to the police station or hospital immediately.
  • Get a urine test as soon as possible because the drugs leave your system quickly. Freeze your urine so it can be analyzed later.

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