Thursday, 21 February 2013

Progesterex: Another urban myth

The blog I wrote about the urban myth ‘Strawberry Quik’ has been one of my most popular. A couple of readers have contacted me and asked me if there are other false drug warnings that could be doing the rounds that they should be aware of.

In fact, there are a number of urban myths that often come in the form of an email or Facebook message giving you a warning about some 'terrible new drug trend'. These include stories of ecstasy that contains glass (apparently designed to tear the inside of your stomach wall, thus enabling you to absorb the MDMA quicker), and LSD soaked tattoos (created to ensnare little children into the world of illicit drugs as early as possible).
 
One of the most persistent urban myths deals with a drug called ‘Progesterex’. Here is a version of the email that I first received in 2007 and have since found in my in-box many times over the years:
 
"Please advise your daughters and send to as many people, this is very tragic.
 
A woman at the nightclub Cobar (NSW) on Saturday night was taken by 5 men, who according to hospital and police reports, gang raped her before dumping her. Unable to remember the events of the evening, tests later confirmed the repeat rapes along with traces of Rohypnol in her blood, with Progesterex, which is essentially a small sterilization pill. The drug now being used by rapists at parties to rape and sterilize their victims.
 
Progesterex is available to vets to sterilize large animals.
 
Rumor has it that Progesterex is being used together with Rohypnol, the date rape drug. As with Rohypnol, all they have to do is drop it into the girls drink. The girl can't remember a thing the next morning, of all that had taken place the night before. Progesterex, which dissolves in drinks just as easily, is such that the victim doesn't conceive from the rape and the rapist needn't worry about having a paternity test identifying him months later.
 
The drugs effects are not temporary.They are permanent! Progesterex was designed to sterilize horses. Any female who takes it will never be able to conceive. The bastards can get this drug from anyone who is in vet school or any university. It's that easy, and Progesterex is about to break out big everywhere. Believe it or not, there are even sites on the Internet telling people how to use it.
 
Please COPY this to everyone you know, especially girls. Be careful when you're out, and don't leave your drink unattended. Please make the effort to pass this onto all you know......Guys, please inform all your female friends and relatives. Girls, keep your drinks safe at all times, and men, look after the girls you're with.
 
Please pass this on to all your friends and family... Thank you."
 
There are many versions of this story but they usually involve a young woman being sexually assaulted by an unknown assailant. Unable to remember the events of the evening, tests later reveal traces of Progesterex in her blood. This one even adds the drug Rohypnol to the story, just to add a little more authenticity.
 
According to the email, Progesterex is available to vets to sterilize large animals (usually horse or cows) and will have the same effect if administered to humans. Rumour has it that the Progesterex is being used as a ‘date rape drug’ as it apparently dissolves in drinks easily and as the victim doesn't conceive from the rape, the rapist needn't worry about having a paternity test identifying him months later! The message goes on about how this is happening all over the country and that the effect is permanent. The reader is asked to forward this to everyone they know, particularly young women.
 
It of course is a hoax and the only reason for its existence appears to be to frighten young women. Progesterex doesn't exist! There's no mention of it anywhere in medical or scientific literature. According to the site http://urbanlegends.about.com/, this myth has been in circulation since November 1999. The site also explains that this hoax, similar to the one dealing with ‘Strawberry Quik’, has an urgent, fear-inducing tone; there are no verifiable sources identified; and there is the usual plea to forward the message to everyone one knows.
 
Legitimate drug warnings are incredibly important, however it's equally important to separate fact from fiction. The ‘Progesterex’ scare is baseless, as are so many of the email and Facebook warnings that many of us receive at some time or another. Once again, don't forward anything like this before checking out the facts carefully.

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