In the United States, over half of women and nearly 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual assault. Many perpetrators of sexual assault drug their victims with roofies.
Roofies (also called “date rape drugs”) are substances that make a person more vulnerable to assault. Here’s what you should know about “getting roofied” so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
What Are The Most Common Date Rape Drugs?
The term “roofie” comes from a street name for a popular date rape drug called flunitrazepam (brand name Rohypnol). It belongs to a class of sedative drugs called benzodiazepines.
Unlike many other benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin), Rohypnol is not approved for medical use in the United States.
Other common date rape drugs include:
- gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a central nervous system depressant
- ketamine (also called “special K”), a dissociative anesthetic
All of these substances can make you more vulnerable to sexual assault by lowering your defenses and inhibitions.
How To Tell If You Were Roofied
In many cases, a perpetrator of sexual assault will slip a date rape drug into a person’s drink. Unfortunately, drugs often lack color, smell, and taste. That means it’s difficult to determine if your drink has been tampered with.
However, if your drink is light in color, Rohypnol may turn it blue. Other date rape drugs may give your drink a salty or bitter taste.
In addition, if your drink contains a date rape drug, it will have strange side effects. Depending on the drug, these effects may include:
- extreme drowsiness
- muscle relaxation
- slurred speech
- poor judgment
- trouble moving
- memory loss
- loss of consciousness
Many of these effects resemble those of alcohol. Thus, if you have been drinking, it can be harder to determine if you have been drugged. However, a drugged drink will typically make you feel much more intoxicated than normal.
Also, if you have been drugged and assaulted, you may wake up feeling confused and with little to no memory of what happened before you fell asleep. You may also notice unexplained bruises, bleeding, or pain. In addition, your clothes may be torn, stained, or put on incorrectly.
What To Do If You Were Roofied
If you think you have been roofied, get yourself to a safe place, and seek immediate medical attention. If you don’t feel comfortable calling 911 yourself, ask a trusted friend to call on your behalf. You could also head straight to the emergency room or ask a friend to take you there.
Ask the doctor, nurse, or dispatcher for immediate drug testing. Most date rape drugs leave your system within 72 hours. Thus, the sooner you get tested, the better your chances of identifying the drug and getting proper medical care to reduce its effects.
While at the hospital, you can also get tested for signs of sexual assault. This testing can help prove the perpetrator’s guilt if they are caught by police.
Finally, consider reaching out to a crisis counselor to help you cope with your experience. You can get confidential, 24/7 support by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
How To Avoid Getting Roofied
Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting drugged.
Pour Or Order Your Own Drinks
First, always pour or order your own drinks. When ordering a drink, watch the bartender as they make and pour it. Avoid drinks that look, smell, or taste unusual. Also, never consume drinks that come from open containers (such as punch bowls).
Never Leave Your Drink Unattended
Once you have your drink, never leave it unattended. Bring it with you everywhere you go, including the bathroom. While this may seem unhygienic, it’s the only way to stay safe.
You should also keep your drink covered whenever you’re not drinking it. Hold the cup from the top so you can easily keep your hand over it. You could also buy a drink cover.
Stick With Friends
Lastly, whenever you drink in public, stick with trusted friends. Tell them how much you plan to drink and how intoxicated you expect to feel. That way, they can identify if you act drunker than expected, which is a sign you may have been drugged.
Date Rape Drugs & Addiction
Many date rape drugs, including Rohpynol and GHB, are addictive. Addiction is a serious disease that makes you feel unable to stop using a drug. Common symptoms include:
- frequent drug cravings
- tolerance (needing increasingly larger or more frequent doses of a drug to feel the desired effects)
- physical dependence (experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use drugs)
- loss of motivation
- loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
If you or someone you love experiences these symptoms, please reach out to a Recovering Champions specialist. Our addiction treatment programs offer mental health counseling, support groups, and other evidence-based services to help you or your loved one stay healthy.