Drugs of sexual abuse: where they come from and what to do if they put something in your drink

Liquid or powder drug in a drink. The victims, the vast majority of whom are women, are fooled into taking it and lose consciousness. They are then sexually abused. The dramatic story repeats itself. Those who suffered it in their own flesh state that they have felt dizziness, confusion, and a sedative effect which, in some cases, even led to them being “blank”. Only this week two cases were known: one in the Pinar de Rocha bowling alley, where a 14-year-old girl was raped, and the other in Crobar, in which two 17-year-old girls were abused.

The burundanga (or scopolamine) is one of the drugs used for this purpose. The other possibility is that a drink is added benzodiazepinesmaintain the specialists consulted, who tell details about these substances and explain how to act against intoxication.

Francisco Dadic, who is a toxicologist and covers night shifts at the Durand Hospital, assures that he usually receives consultations on this subject. “It is mostly women who come. They report feeling dizzy and several they suspect they put something in their drink. In general, they are given a urine test to look for a sedative. To check the existence of burundanga you need reagents not always available”, he comments.

He says that this also happens in private clinics and that people who enter on duty usually keep an eye on for a few hours, until the effect wears off.

A 14-year-old teenager was sexually abused when she went to the Pinar de Rocha bowling alley, in Morón, according to her mother. Photo Rolando Andrade Stracuzzi

Regarding burundanga, Dadic explains that its technical name is scopolamine and that it causes a “chemical submission”.

And he adds: “It is an alkaloid derived from two toxic and hallucinogenic plants: brugmansia and datura or shamic. Although the plants are available in Argentina, people who use this drug for criminal purposes directly buy the synthesized substance on the illegal market”, affirms Dadic.

The therapeutic effects are few and very specific: it serves to reduce secretions in the bronchi associated with some oncological pathologies and is also used to dilate the pupils in certain eye surgeries, according to the Durand toxicologist.

“In the rest of the cases, it is used for criminal purposes and the market is very limited,” he continues. He estimates that there is surely some clandestine laboratory that synthesizes this drug in the country and that it may also be imported illegally.

Burundanga can be supplied in powder or liquid form and it is very difficult to tell if someone has mixed it into a drink.

Burundanga can be supplied in powder or liquid form and it is very difficult to tell if someone has mixed it into a drink.

Its presentation is liquid or powder and if it is added to an alcoholic drink it is imperceptible. “It does not have a particular flavor or aroma, nor does it change the color of the drink,” he highlights. Although he warns that there is a first moment of “excessive drunkenness” prior to sedation in which the victim can react and ask for help.

“The initial sensation can be confused with a high alcohol consumption. But there are cases in which the person becomes aware of feeling dizzy after ingesting a very small amount of alcohol or even after drinking a soda or water, “says Dadic, who indicates that, in general, there may be a period of 20 minutes between the symptoms of instability after consuming the drug and sedation.

“During this period, when in doubt or suspicion, it is necessary to notify a trusted person to receive assistance and get away from the risk situation”, highlights the doctor.

Is there contact poisoning?

Meanwhile, he clarifies that, contrary to what is usually heard, burundanga poisoning to the touch is very unlikely. “It is a myth that they can drug you by touching you or giving you a piece of paper. The drug should be in contact with the skin for a long time. It is not something immediate”, adds Dadic.

drug theft

Benzodiazepines have multiple clinical uses: “They are usually steal from hospitals where they are administered to patients in ampoules. They are also available in pills but their purchase is by prescription”. The effect is similar to that of burundanga. It is also not easy to detect by its aroma, taste or color. Therefore, the only way to try to avoid it is asking for unopened drinks (bottled or canned) or watching at the moment when they prepare the drink.

“Most of the drugs that can be used for this purpose don’t have a flashy taste so it’s really hard to tell. They are offered in liquid or pill forms”, agrees Héctor Berzel, toxicologist at Hospital Gutiérrez and Toxicology advisor at Same.

The only way to try to avoid drug mixing is to ask for unopened drinks (bottled or canned) or to watch as the drink is mixed.

The only way to try to avoid drug mixing is to ask for unopened drinks (bottled or canned) or to watch as the drink is mixed.

Berzel points out that “in general, they are central nervous system depressants that first disinhibit and then generate sleep and can even lead to a coma”.

He says that the time between the consumption of the drug and the sedative effects (loss of control of one’s body and consciousness) varies according to the dose administered and the build of the victim. In addition, he explains that several of these drugs are obtained through the illegal market or from the drug theft.

In the sight of Justice

Mariela Labozzetta, head of the Fiscal Unit Specialized in Violence against Women (UFEM) of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Nation, confirms that they are seeing cases of this type. Of women who were drugged and then abused. “Most of the time they are recorded in bowling alleys, parties, previous and the victims are young adolescents,” says Labozzetta.

“We are talking about victims of sexual abuse who suffer a decrease or loss of consciousness without having ingested an excessive amount of alcohol so it is inferred that they were drugged. In many cases, they state that they put some substance in their drink”, specifies the head of the UFEM.

Labozzetta points out that there is the idea that “sexual abuse has to do with someone attacking you in a dark alley and it is not necessarily like that: there are many cases of intra-family or close circle sexual abuse. The perpetrators are not always unknown”, he contributes.

“If the sexual relationship is not free and consented, there is abuse. They are cases of gender violence, ”she warns. And he assures that, on many occasions, they receive late complaints due to fear or mistrust of the judicial system, among other reasons.

“There are still many deficiencies in the process, starting with the fact that the victim is questioned,” says Labozzetta, noting that the UFEM is working to reverse this reality.

violence and abuse

According to a report released in November last year by the Ministry of Justice and Unicef, between October 2020 and September 2021, queries to the national line 137 of the program “Victims against violence” increased 15% Compared to the same period of the previous year.

They registered 9,989 girls, boys and adolescents who are victims of family and/or sexual violence and 3,219 of sexual abuse.

In all age groups, the highest percentage of victims belongs to the female gender, representing almost 4 times more than the male. The difference according to gender widens when the victim is older. 74.2% were violated by someone from their close environment or area of ​​trust.

Meanwhile, only in the first two months of the year there were 54 femicides in Argentina, including 2 transvestites, according to a report by the “Adriana Marisel Zambrano” observatory, which coordinates La Casa del Encuentro. In other words, a woman was murdered every 26 hours and 43 boys lost their mother.

Most Recent Cases

In recent times, several cases of women who were abused in bowling alleys (or at the exit) were reported. It happened in Pinar de Rocha, located in Villa Sarmiento, at dawn on Saturday 23, where the controls did not work and a 14-year-old girl entered, who was raped, they suspect, in the VIP of the disco.

Her mother, who appeared at the 14 A Neighborhood Police Station of the City Police, reported that the young woman had a drink that made her lose consciousness. She was transferred to the Güemes Sanatorium, where they assisted her and verified her injuries.

Two 17-year-old girls said they were sexually abused in Crobar.

Two 17-year-old girls said they were sexually abused in Crobar.

Another case of sexual abuse was recorded on the same Saturday at the bowling alley croak, in Palermo. The victims are two 17 year olds who also reported “having lost control of their senses” after drinking adulterated alcoholic beverages.

The attackers would be two RRPP (public relations) from the dance hall. The substance with which they were drugged has not yet been identified.. In this case, they were taken to the Fernández Hospital and the investigation was left in the hands of Prosecutor No. 58.

On February 28, a 20-year-old girl was the victim of a gang rape (she was abused by six men) inside a car in Palermo. In that case, a witness testified that in the despues de in which the victim met the abusers, the defendants circulated a drink mixed with “meth” pills (methamphetamine).


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Drugs of sexual abuse: where they come from and what to do if they put something in your drink