Knockout drops are drugs being used ever more often to secretly pour into drinks or food to make someone unconscious, helpless or unable to act. They work quickly after ingestion making the body numb and defenceless. Memory gaps are the rule. Various active ingredients are contained in knockout drops. A common active ingredient is gamma-hydroxy-butyric acid (GHB) or gamma-butyrolactone (GBL – a precursor of GHB), also known as “Liquid Ecstasy”, “Liquid E" or “Liquid X”. Other active substances are ketamine or prescription sedatives and psycho-pharmaceuticals from the benzodiazepine group.
GHB has been subject to the Narcotics Act (“Betäubungsmittelgesetz”) since 2002. This means that you are liable to prosecution for the possession, purchase, dealing as well as for the supply or administration of GHB. Prescription psychotropic drugs such as benzodiazepines are also subject to this Narcotics Law in Germany.
Administration of knockout drops is considered a dangerous bodily injury under § 224 ff. StGB (Paragraphs 224 et. Seq. of StGB) and can, in the worst case, result in death. Sexual assaults involving the administration of knockout drops are punishable as abuse of persons unable to resist (§ 177 StGB). Perpetrators can face imprisonment for up to 10 years.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
There is no such thing as 100% protection but you can take the following precautions:
- Don’t leave your glass unattended, if in doubt order a fresh drink.
- Arrange with friends to watch each other’s drinks.
- Only drink from glasses you have followed all the way from the bar.
- When you go out with friends make sure to also go home together.
- If you notice a friend has suddenly started behaving out of character becoming totally exhilarated, random and extremely flirtatious, keep your eye on them and don’t leave them alone.
- Be aware that perpetrators can be both strangers and friends.
- Don’t hesitate to leave the club or party if you don’t feel safe there.
- Turn to your friends or the staff if you suddenly feel sick, dizzy or faint at a club, pub or a private party.
- Take a urine sample straight away (in a sealable container) and keep it cool.
- Go straight to hospital and/or to the police.