Ten common substances used to drug Kenyans
1. Rohypnol or date rape pill
Commonly known as the date rape pill, Rohypnol is used by criminals to drug and rape unsuspecting victims. The drug is tasteless and odourless making it easy to imbibe it in a drink without detecting.
Rohypnol is a prescription drug used to treat severe insomnia and assists in anaesthesia, but unscrupulous pharmacists sell it over the counter to aid in criminal activities.
Its effects kick in 15 to 20 minutes after consumption and last approximately four to six hours. A powerful tranquiliser, the drug leads to strong amnesia leaving victims with limited or no memory of the assault.
2. GHB causes unconsciousness
A prescription drug that treats anxiety, sleep disorders and fatigue Gamma- Hydroxybutyrate is widely used to aid in committing a crime. Information on the Antinarcotics Unit site under Criminal investigations Department, Kenya, shows that GHB is used in poisonings and date rapes.
The drug, the site says, is commonly mixed with alcohol and may cause unconsciousness for a short duration. Other effects include euphoria, nausea and breathing difficulties. The drug can also lead to coma and seizures.
3. Diazepam, a rape drug
Diazepam affects the central nervous system and decreases brain activity. The drug, which is administered as an oral liquid, injectable solution or a gel leads to intense feelings of happiness, mental relaxation and reduced stress. Like Rohypnol, Diazepam is used as a date rape drug.
Criminals take advantage of the euphoric effects triggered by the drug to take advantage of their victims. Originally, Diazepam is a prescription drug used in the treatment of anxiety and to relieve the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
4. Ketamine used in matatus, nightclubs
This drug is commonly used in public transport vehicles and nightclubs. Used in powder or liquid form, the drug can be injected or put in cigarettes. In liquid form, it can also be mixed in drinks.
The drug is legally sold as an anaesthetic for veterinary use (horse tranquiliser). Ketamine causes hallucinations, amnesia, high blood pressure and respiratory complications.
5. Halothane used to drug passengers
One minute you are conscious and aware of your surroundings the next you inhale a sweet-smelling, but colourless gas and immediately blackout.
That’s exactly how Halothene works. The drug is mainly used to drug passengers in matatus or nightclubs with the intention of stealing from them.
Used medically as an aesthetic, inhaling halothane causes one to slip into a state of unconsciousness. When used in high doses, the drug can lead to cardiac arrest.
6. Ecstasy affects sexual arousal
Used as a recreational drug to alter sensations, increase energy and pleasure, ecstasy is also a drug of choice for criminals.
Nicknamed ‘Molly’, the drug exists in powder, liquid or tablet form. The drug whose effects last three to six hours causes impulsiveness, blurred vision, sweating and nausea.
It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust and thus the drug is commonly used in perpetrating rape.
7. Scopolamine blown on victim’s face
Next time a stranger stops you on the streets and engages you in a conversation, or someone hands you a business card, you may need to think twice.
Stories have been told of people who were stopped by random people only for them to finally discover they had been robbed.
The victims report having no recollection of the events that transpired. When blown on a victim’s face, Scopolamine powder causes them to lose free will leaving them at the mercy of criminals.
8. Midazolam makes victims lose consciousness
The drug which is marketed under the brand name Dormicum in Kenya is a potent weapon used by criminals.
The lethal chemical is administered in the form of an injection. It renders victims unconscious, may cause breathing to temporarily stop, lead to permanent brain injury or cause death.
In medical settings, the injection is administered as part of anaesthesia during surgery in small doses.
9. Stilnox or mchele used by commercial sex workers
The drug is used by commercial sex workers in nightclubs. Also referred to as mchele, Stilnox is commonly used in entertainment joints and clubs to drug victims with an intention of robbing or raping them.
Like GHB, Stilnox is a prescription drug that treats sleep difficulties. In the streets, the drug often in powder form is put in drinks and renders victims unconscious. If taken in high doses while mixed with alcohol it can lead to a coma.
10. Alprazolam aids criminals
This drug sold under the brand name Xanax is widely used in the country in committing crimes.
The drug causes memory loss and drowsiness. National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and drug abuse (Nacada) lists Xanax as one of the commonly abused prescription drug.
As a prescription drug, it is mostly used in short-term management of anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and nausea due to chemotherapy.