Common, over-the-counter meds used to incapacitate adults

Common, over-the-counter meds used to incapacitate adults

Sexual assault advocates are warning over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl are being slipped into drinks by sexual predators in order to incapacitate their victims.

The “Benadryl Cocktail” is created when the liquid version of the anti-histamine is added to drinks and given to unsuspecting victims, says Sarah Katula, advanced practice nurse in psychiatry at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill.

The most commonly referenced date-rape drugs may be rohypnol and GBH. However, when benadryl, gravol or sleep aids are mixed with alcohol, the victim can become disoriented and even unconscious.

“It’s important to pay attention to your surroundings. If you are at a party where people are drinking alcohol, pour your own drink and never leave them unattended. If you suspect your drink has been tampered with, leave the party. It’s important to make safety your number one priority,” says Katula.

Katula says you should pay attention to the following warning signs if you suspect your drink has been tampered with:

  • Suddenly feeling drowsy and nauseated
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Increased body temperature
  • Feeling like you’ve consumed more drinks than you have
  • Staggering and feeling unsteady.

“If you suspect that you’ve been drugged and assaulted, call 911 immediately or go straight to the nearest hospital. Do not urinate before going to the hospital and bring the remnants of the drink with you. The drugs can be easily detected and will be used as evidence in a rape kit,” she says.

In the U.S., one person is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

Both men and women can be perpetrators, and Katula points out that they can also often be acquaintances or even friends.

“Since most sexual assaults occur between the ages of 15 and 24, I recommend that parents talk to their teenagers and young adults about how to stay safe and keep their friends safe,” she says.

RAINN offers the following tips to stay safe in social situations:

  • Make a plan – Attend an event or party with people you trust. Agree to watch out for one another and plan to leave together.
  • Protect your drink – Never leave your drink unattended, and watch out for your friends’ drinks as well.
  • Know your limits – Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. Also be aware of your friends’ behavior. If one of you feels extremely tired or more drunk than you should, leave the event immediately and seek help, as you may have been drugged.
  • Trust your instincts – If you notice something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Seek help.

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  1. Interesting point regarding not only guys possibly spiking your drink, but women as well.

  2. Please read this honey. More sick perverts coming up with more ways to hurt women.
    please take the advice given in this article. you and kinsea need to look out for each other.
    I love you. mom

  3. Had this done to me twice and I am a male this doesn’t just happen to women it’s not only women Ellie that woman power thing is great. But don’t let feelings dispute real the real world and truth

  4. Back in the late 90s, I went to a party and was immediately given a drink spiked with enough Rohypnol to put an elephant down for a week, so I know it happens, but Benadryl? Please, don’t make me laugh. Women and the media always have to have a bogeyman substance. No amount of Benadryl and booze is going to knock out anyone of average build and weight. At worst, a bit sleepy maybe, but not incapacitated.

  5. Craig, some people have a really strong reaction to Benadryl. The first time I took Benadryl for an allergy – only one pink pill – it flattened me for nearly 24 hours. (I didn’t take alcohol or anything else with it). It just about knocked me out, I was in and out of wakefulness for a full day, I couldn’t do anything, could not get out of bed for more than a minute or two. I avoided Benadryl for years but needed to take it again a decade later. This time the effect was like 12 hours. Since then I have not had a strong reaction like that to Benadryl, but it can happen.

  6. I took the Benadryl because of Arash it immediately knocked me out and I slept most of the day A Good Sam sleep baby aspirin also makes me sleepy it doesn’t knock me out but it makes me very sleepy I’m 60 years old and I weigh a hundred and ten pounds so yes it does happen God bless you all

  7. No one is saying this doesn’t happen, but the article is clearly grasping at Benadryl being a new boggy man. It’s not. This sound like what a 15 year old would think up once they heard about Benadryl making people pass out for the first time. Can it randomly severely affect some people, sure but not the average regular person. And it s pink opaque liquid….how is anyone not noticing a large amount of pink opaque flavored liquid finding itself into your drink!?! Focus on the real threats and not the exaggerations.

    • Marc, many cocktails are colored and flavored. In a dark environment like a bar, it’d be easy to miss your drink getting a few shades pinker, and it’d be easy to miss the change in taste. Especially if it’s not your first drink, or if it has ice in it. The lightening color could be attributed to the ice melting.
      Any person, even the “regular average person” can be overdosed on Benadryl and be impaired. I doubt the kind of people who drug others are going to follow the dosing directions. Further, does it really matter if Benadryl isn’t the next big date rape drug? The main point of this article is to highlight how easy it is to be drugged, and that you should always be vigilant.

    • If you have ever had a surgery. They give you Benadryl to sedate and relax you before they give you the paralytics and other meds to keep you unconscious so Benadryl is very very strong medicine. You should always be aware of your surroundings at parties and bars

  8. There are hundreds of drugs being made in people’s kitchens used to incapacitate others. Most of these drugs are of unknown substances . All off them can be ordered from the internet from various sites, and when mixed in unsafe quantities can even be fatal. I have experienced being drugged twice or more. Two times I was out of my mind for several days. Having a bad psychological twist due to childhood molestation , the effects off these drugs are horrifying. Unfortunately people don’t think you are drugged , they just see someone freaking out, and laugh at you. I am sixty years old, and I can tell you there are some serious freaks out there who will use those drugs for many purposes. Including robbing you , raping you, or just getting revenge for some incident. Be safe stay out of bars. People in general are insane, just look at the world and think, think again.

  9. Abraham Davey May 11, 2023 at 6:16 am · Reply

    I work 14 hrs 7 day s 7night and I find it really hard to get sleep . I tried all those sleeping tablet but none of them done me good , every time I try and sleep it felt like I’ve over slept but I didn’t majority of sleep I honestly have in 1-2hrs and it felt like I’ve slept 8 hrs but I didn’t then I can’t sleep when I’m awake . I need some to knock me out so I can get a decent sleep . I’m work on a mine site and it a 24/7 roster . Need to get a decent sleep not a 20-30minute sleep . Worked on a mine site for 7year and sleeping is hard for me and I need a decent sleep
    Meaning I need something that will knock me out so I can rest .

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About the Author

Johnna Kelly
Johnna Kelly

Johnna Kelly, healthe news contributor, is a manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She is a former newspaper reporter and spent nearly 10 years as a public relations professional working for state and county government. During her time as a communications staffer for the Illinois General Assembly, she was integral in drafting and passing legislation creating Andrea's Law, the nation's first murderer registry. In her spare time, she volunteers at a local homeless shelter, enjoys traveling, photography and watching the Chicago Bulls.