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"One year ago, I locked my door and went to sleep; like we all do on any given night. Unfortunately, this night was like no other before and was one I will never be able to forget. I woke up that night to a co-worker who had undressed himself, crawled into my bed and raped me. "
Kathleen, rape survivor

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Rohypnol - The Date Rape Drug

       Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is better known by its street name, Roofies. This drug is infamous for many nefarious uses, including date rape. Rohypnol may have adverse physical effects on the user, even outside of its known side effects, and the drug does create enough of a shroud that a woman could quickly find herself in a compromising situation and have little or no memory once the drug has worn off.

Rohypnol is illegal for sale in the United States, though it is considered legal for sale as a sleeping pill in more than 60 countries. Sadly, this has not stopped Rohypnol from appearing across the United States as both a recreational drug as well as a tool to commit date rape.

What is Rohypnol used for, and what does it look like?

       As mentioned prior, Rohypnol is more commonly known as the date rape pill. It can be found as a colorless (white), odorless pill that is ingested orally. It is occasionally ground up and snorted, though that type of ingestion is very uncommon. One side of the pill is dashed, similar to Tylenol or Aspirin tablets. It is engraved with the name ROCHE on the other side.

Rohypnol is a sedative, and it is chemically similar to many over the counter sleeping pills that you can find a your local pharmacy. It can be compared quite accurately to Valium. The pill comes in either 1 or 2 milligram doses, and the dose will be printed on the pill itself. Rohypnol is fast acting, and its effects can last anywhere from 8 to 12 hours- individuals who have a lower tolerance to medications may experience effects that are longer in duration.

The effects of Rohypnol

       The effects of Rohypnol vary based on the dosage the user has taken. Low doses of Rohypnol produce symptoms that are similar to alcohol consumption: relaxation, a general feeling of intoxication, and sedative effects. Higher doses of Rohypnol produce effects that are stronger than Valium. The combination of alcohol and Rohypnol is particularly dangerous.

Common side effects of Rohypnol include:

  • Amnesia: Users of a high dose of Rohypnol have little or no memory after the effects have worn off. This is why Rohypnol is so dangerous.

  • Symptoms that are similar to a hangover: Vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches are all common side effects of consumption of Rohypnol.

  • Increased heart rate.

  • Mood swings. This may also include sudden sensations of extreme rage, depression, or vulnerability.

The Link to Date Rape

       Rohypnol has been used in countless amounts of sexual assaults and rapes. The fast acting effects of the pill, combined with the memory loss and muscle relaxation, create a weapon that can be used discreetly and with tragic efficiency. Because of the massive number of sexual assaults that are associated with Rohypnol, the manufacturer has changed the design of the pill so that it leaves floating particles that are blue in color. This has been designed as a safety measure and a warning sign.

If you see blue floating particles in your drink, do not drink it! Call the police, if possible leave the situation that you are in, and return to an environment that is safe and secure.

Some precautions that you can take to avoid becoming a victim of date rape:

  • Always keep an eye on your drink.

  • Do not let your drink out of your sight if you are at a party or somewhere where you are not completely secure.

  • Watch your interaction with new people. Keep your drink covered so that there is no possibility for someone to slip a pill into it without you noticing.

  • Do not become so intoxicated that you are unable to react appropriately to your surroundings.

  • Always enter and exit a social event with a group of friends. With a set of eyes watching over you there is a lower possibility of you becoming a victim.

If you have been a victim of date rape under the influence of Rohypnol, please know that you are NOT to blame and you are NOT alone. Join our support forums and chat room for rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse survivors to use your voice, connect with other survivors, and heal.

© 2007 After Silence: Rape and Sexual Abuse Survivors Message Board, Forums, and Chat Room. - This article may not be reprinted or reproduced without express permission.

For more information on the date rape drug, review this informative article resealed by The National Women's Health Information Center.


This site is offered for support of other rape and sexual abuse survivors. It is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help.
If you are in a crisis situation we urge to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.

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