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DEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to the letter from the woman in Grand Prairie, Texas, who was a victim of "drug rape."

I am a deputy district attorney in San Diego, and her history is all too familiar. We see a number of cases just like hers, and she is right -- they are very difficult to prosecute. That is why the San Diego district attorney's office is launching a rape awareness campaign designed to educate young women about the dangers of drug- and alcohol-facilitated rape. The campaign consists of television and radio ads, posters, billboards and literature. Our hopes are that young women will become more aware of these dangerous predators out there who appear harmless. They are, simply put: RAPISTS.

Whether a victim was raped because she was surreptitiously slipped a drug or she took the drugs voluntarily, rape is rape. So, if you and your friends go out for the evening, watch out for each other. If a friend looks like she's had too much to drink, or looks like she can't take care of herself, take care of her -- before someone else does.

And if, despite your best precautions, you become a victim -- please go to your local police and report this crime. -- LISA WEINREB, DEPUTY D.A., SAN DIEGO

DEAR LISA: I applaud you for your rape awareness campaign, and hope other communities will follow suit. While I agree that a rape victim should report her assault to the police, I would also advise her to head straight for the nearest emergency room so she can be treated and evidence can be collected.

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