Africa Check: Activated charcoal not useful against date rape drugs

JOHANNESBURG – Activated charcoal is not useful against date rape drugs and alcohol.

This is according to independent fact-check organisation, Africa Check, who have disproved the myth around activated charcoal.

It follows advice – seen on social media, that women carry the substance with them to counteract the effects of any date rape drugs.

“Should you feel weird or out of place, drink one tablet and they will counteract most date rape drugs,” reads a social media post that has been shared repeatedly over the past few years.

Gender researcher, Lisa Vetten clarifies:

“The first is that activated charcoal will help mitigate the effects of drugs that are used in drug-facilitated rape and it’s important that people know that it won’t have any effect, so that it doesn’t give them a false sense of security.”

As Africa Check further explains, “activated charcoal is often used in hospital emergency rooms, in very specific situations: to treat people who have consumed specific drugs, given in high doses, and within a short amount of time after the person has taken the substance.”

“By the time someone feels “out of place” or not like themselves, like the posts say, the drug has probably already been absorbed into their body.”

Vetten adds: “But I think the second myth they also point out is that actually, alcohol is more of a risk in rape than drugs maybe.”

The fact-check organisation also clarifies that alcohol – often the drug of choice in sexual assaults – is not affected by charcoal tablets.