A warning has been issued about 'date-rape drugs' after a woman's glass was reportedly laced with GHB.
Her friend wrote on Twitter that a drink was spiked with the substance on a night out in Cork and urged people to throw out any drinks that tasted salty - as this could be the telltale sign of GHB.
Margo Noonan of the Cork Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the South Infirmary, said drug-facilitated rape was an ongoing concern.
“Out of 114 people who came to us after being raped this year, 13% were concerned that they were a victim of drug-facilitated rape, and 12% were unsure,” she said.
“The most common drug used is alcohol. Alcohol is the easiest drug to get your hands on and to give someone.
“GHB only lasts in the system for 12 hours so it can be difficult to trace hours later,” Ms Noonan added.
She also warned of a shady multi-million dollar international industry which produces drugs for sex rings and paedophiles, developing formulas to knock a victim out while leaving a limited chemical trace.
Mary Crilly of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork said that rapists drugging their victims was a “reality” and has been for many years.
And she warned that the drugs are often tasteless and odourless.
“They also use Valium and sleeping pills. And sometimes more alcohol is the drug. One in five girls are now raped in this country.
“And 80% of the time, the rapist is someone you know. It's someone in your group who you trust."
Ms Crilly said that only 10% of rape cases currently result in a conviction and that we need to radically change how society views sexual violence before things change.
“It's juries who convict," she said.
“Society still sees rape of a young woman as a grey area. Rape of an 80-year-old or a child is immediately understood to be rape, but if it's a young woman, society still asks whether it was her fault."
"But it's never her fault. And in my 36 years working in this field, I've never met a person who lied about being raped.
“Everyone in society has to be involved to tackle this to stop more women's lives being ruined,” she said.
Forensic Science Ireland, which tests for date-rape drugs said that the most common drug associated with sexual assault and drug-facilitated sexual assault is alcohol. Other drugs commonly detected include cannabis, cocaine and benzodiazepines, like Valium and Xanax.