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Experts warn of dangers of date rape drugs

ADEBAYO FOLORUNSHO-FRANCIS

Medical and health experts have urged the government to take the necessary steps to ensure access is restricted to some drugs that are illegally procured and used by rapists.

They warned that such drugs have serious negative effects on health as they are usually used for wrong purposes, especially date rape.

According to the experts, some of the damaging effects of date rape drugs include serious amnesia, impairment of vision and distortion of memory.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, National Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria, Dr. Kingsley Amibor, warned that date rape drugs can make people become physically weak or pass out.

He urged the government to enforce the relevant laws on drugs to ensure criminals do not have access to prescription medicines.

“People who engage in rape use them (the drugs) because they leave individuals unable to defend themselves. Most times, the person who is attacked might become confused, have trouble defending themselves or not able to remember what happened later,” he said.

The hospital pharmacist said it has become necessary to ensure drugs are not treated as just any other article of trade and sold in the open market. Drugs, he said, are poisons and are only beneficial when used appropriately.

Amibor, therefore, urged the government to address the issue of unrestricted access to prescription medicine to ensure dangerous drugs are not available to criminals and rapists.

Also speaking with Punch HealthWise, National chairman, Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Madu equally agreed that access to date rape drugs should be checked.

He described rape as a form of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other kinds of sexual penetration in which the victim is incapable of giving valid consent.

“The keyword in this definition is valid consent. A person under the influence of date rape drugs or alcohol cannot give valid consent just as a minor or mentally incapacitated person cannot do the same.

The clinician noted that victims develop side effects such as loss of inhibitions, relaxing effects and inability to remember events that might have occurred while the drug is still acting in the system.

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