Drug and Alcohol

Roofied: Signs and Symptoms of Being Assaulted with Rohypnol

What is being "roofied?" Here's how to recognize the symptoms and prevent this awful form of assault. Sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault.

Roofied: Signs and Symptoms of Being Assaulted with Rohypnol

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

June 21, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Content warning: This blog discusses sexual assault.

For many people, the thought of a night out is marred by a worry of being drugged against their will and then being assaulted. Certain drugs known as “date rape drugs” are slipped into people’s drinks. Odorless, tasteless, and hard to detect, these drugs cause memory blackouts and physical helplessness.

Before we continue, it’s important to make one thing very clear: Sexual assault and violence is NEVER the fault of the victim. Date rape is solely the fault of the perpetrator and is a vile crime. Anyone who uses drugs like Rohypnol to assault others is a criminal, full stop.

Although there are several drugs used as date rape drugs, the phrase “roofied” comes from Rohypnol.

Roofied: What are Date Rape Drugs?

Date rape drugs are drugs used by predators to drug their victims. Although none of these drugs were intended to be used as date rape drugs, they act as powerful sedatives and cause memory blackouts when combined with alcohol.

Although many drugs can be used to facilitate sexual assault, here are the most common ones.

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

GHB is used to treat narcolepsy and the effects of chronic alcoholism. It’s used as a club drug as well. When mixed with alcohol, GHB can knock a person unconscious for hours with no memory of what happened. GHB has a noticeably soapy taste – but it can also be turned into a powder.

Ketamine

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning it can make a person feel like they’re outside of their body. Known as “special K” and other street names, ketamine is often used as a party drug. Like GHB, ketamine can cause confusion, amnesia, and blackouts when it’s mixed with alcohol.

Rohypnol

Rohypnol belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which are primarily used as sleep aids or muscle relaxants. It’s the brand name for flunitrazepam, which is no longer approved for medical use in the US. Rohypnol is infamous for its role in sexual assault.

What is “Being Roofied”?

Being Roofied” is a slang term referring to surreptitiously administering a powerful sedative called Rohypnol, often known by its street name "roofies," to an unsuspecting individual without their knowledge or consent.

When combined with alcohol, Rohypnol can induce profound sedation, memory loss, and even blackouts. Roofies are notorious for associating with cases of drug-facilitated sexual assault, as they can render victims incapacitated and vulnerable to exploitation.

People who have been drugged with roofies may experience tiredness, dizziness, disorientation, and poor judgment soon after ingesting the substance. They may become utterly unconscious from these symptoms, rendering them helpless to defend themselves or remember anything that happened while under the effects of the drug.

It is important to remember that Rohypnol and other drugs with comparable sedative characteristics are outlawed in many nations because of the possibility of abuse and its danger to individual safety.

Everyone should be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of being roofied, such as abrupt disorientation or excessive lethargy. It is vital to seek prompt medical assistance and report the occurrence to the relevant authorities if someone believes they have been roofied or observes suspicious conduct.

Prevention strategies, such as being wary of taking beverages from strangers, always keeping an eye on one's drink, and remaining in a group, can also help lower the likelihood of being a victim of this sneaky behavior.

Are There Signs of Being Roofied?

Roofies are used because they are odorless, colorless, have no taste, and dissolve easily in liquid. This means it’s very difficult to tell if you’ve been drugged against your will with roofies. Adding to the problem is by the time you do experience some of the following symptoms, it can be too late.

However, there are symptoms of being roofied. They include:

  • Feeling very foggy all of a sudden

  • Feeling really drunk even if you’ve only had one drink

  • Memory problems

  • Feeling sedation

  • Suddenly having a hard time concentrating

  • Feeling like you have no energy

  • Nausea

  • Disorientation

  • Nausea

  • Difficulty moving or feeling like you’re paralyzed

If any of these symptoms happen to you while at a bar, club, or party, do everything you can to alert security, your friends, or anyone else who might be able to protect you.

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Aftereffects of Being Roofied

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s easy to miss these symptoms or mistake them for something else. Rohypnol also has aftereffects. These include:

  • Drowsiness the next day

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscle pain and headaches

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Restlessness

  • Confusion

  • Memory gaps

If you suspect you have been drugged and assaulted, call 911 and get immediate medical attention. Find someone you trust and have them take you to an emergency room or crisis center. Don’t bathe, change your clothes, or wash your hands – as awful as this sounds, it’s a way for the authorities to collect potential evidence.

Also, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

How Do You Avoid Being Roofied?

Sexual assault is an awful subject to talk (or read) about. Going out to have fun, meet new people, and just blow off some steam from a busy week shouldn’t involve worrying about being drugged and assaulted.

There are some things you can do to protect yourself from being roofied, however. They include:

  • Whenever possible, pour and mix your own drinks.

  • Avoid drinking from open containers like punch bowls – they’re easily spiked

  • Never accept a drink from a stranger

  • Sip your drinks at first. If they taste “off,” look weird, or feel especially strong, throw them away

  • Stick close to your friends

  • If you feel any of the symptoms listed in the previous section, let your friends know and go home.

  • Lastly, NEVER leave your drink unattended.

Again, sexual assault is never the fault of the victim.

How Long Do Roofies Stay in Your System?

Although an exact timeline may not be able to determine, research indicates that the typical length for which Rohypnol remains in a person's system can vary based on several circumstances. Roofies' effects typically last a few hours, but residues of the substance can be detectable in the body for much longer.

Rohypnol has a half-life of 18 to 26 hours, the period required for one-half of the drug to be removed from the body. Factors that influence the duration of roofies in the system include the individual's metabolism, the dosage taken, and the frequency of use.

Metabolism plays a significant role in how long roofies stay in the body. People with faster metabolism tend to eliminate the drug more quickly than those with slower metabolism. Higher doses of Rohypnol can also prolong the drug's presence in the system. Chronic or long-term use of roofies can also accumulate the drug in fatty tissues, further extending its detection window.

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How Long Does it Take Roofies to Have Effect?

The effects of Rohypnol begin almost immediately. Roofies typically take between 15 and 30 minutes to start working after they are in the body. It's crucial to remember that the precise timing might vary from person to person depending on things like metabolism, dose, and personal sensitivity.

Roofies are well known for being strong sedatives, which can cause you to feel exhausted, disoriented, confused, and unable to make wise decisions. These side effects might intensify very fast, resulting in total drowsiness or even making you forget what happened.

Do Roofies Show Up in Drug Tests?

Roofies can be identified in the body using a variety of drug tests, including blood, saliva, urine, and hair testing. Urine tests can identify the drug up to two to four days after intake; however, blood tests may have a narrower detection frame of roughly 24 hours. Hair tests offer a longer detection time frame and can identify drug usage that has taken place for a few weeks.

It is important to note that the effects and detection of roofies in the body may vary from person to person. Therefore, consulting with a healthcare professional or seeking medical assistance is crucial for accurate information and guidance regarding drug detection and elimination.

Drug Tests for Roofies

As previously stated, drug tests can be used to detect the presence of roofies, or Rohypnol, in the body. Here are some of the tests commonly employed for this purpose:

Urine Drug Test

These tests can detect the presence of roofies within 2 to 4 days after ingestion. The detection window may vary based on dosage and individual metabolism. Urine tests are widely used and offer a relatively long detection period.

Blood Drug Tests

Roofies can be detected in the bloodstream within 24 hours after ingestion. Blood tests provide a shorter detection window compared to urine tests. Therefore, they are often used when immediate detection is necessary.

Saliva Drug Tests

Saliva tests can detect roofies within a similar timeframe as blood tests, typically within a few hours to a day after ingestion. They are non-invasive and offer quick results, making them useful when immediate detection is required.

Hair Drug Tests

Hair tests have a longer detection window and can reveal drug use for several months. As hair grows, it retains traces of substances ingested, including roofies. Hair tests provide a historical record of drug use over an extended period.

It is crucial to remember that professional drug testing for roofies should be carried out in accredited labs to guarantee accurate and trustworthy findings. In addition, these tests can be useful in determining if someone has been exposed to roofies without their knowledge or permission or in situations of suspected drug-facilitated crimes.

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What Are Some Side Effects of Roofies?

Roofies have various side effects on individuals who consume the drug. These side effects can manifest both during the drug's influence and afterward. Some common side effects of being roofied include:

Sedation

Roofies are potent sedatives, causing extreme drowsiness and lethargy. Individuals may appear excessively tired or find it difficult to stay awake.

Impaired Coordination and Motor Skills

Roofies can significantly affect coordination and motor skills, leading to unsteady movements, stumbling, or difficulty walking.

Confusion and Disorientation

People roofied may experience confusion, memory impairment, and difficulty concentrating. They may have trouble understanding their surroundings or recalling events later.

Impaired Judgment

Roofies can impair decision-making abilities and lead to poor judgment. Individuals may engage in risky behaviors they wouldn't normally consider.

Memory Loss or Blackouts

One of the most notorious side effects of roofies is memory loss or blackouts. Individuals may have little to no recollection of events while under the drug's influence.

Headaches and Nausea

Some individuals may experience headaches, dizziness, and nausea as side effects of being roofied.

It is important to remember that individual side effects may differ and that some people may have higher tolerances for them or respond to them differently.

It is vital to seek prompt medical assistance and report the occurrence to the relevant authorities if someone believes they have been roofied or sees suspicious activity.

Treatment and Recovery for Roofies

Rohypnol is no longer medically used in the US. However, like any drug, it’s possible to obtain them. Although these drugs are chiefly associated with sexual assault, some people do abuse them recreationally. Benzodiazepine abuse is a very common form of drug abuse.

Roofies are strong sedatives that can quickly cause dependency, poor judgment, and increased susceptibility. It’s essential to go to an addiction center for several reasons.

First and foremost, recovery is crucial for protecting one's bodily and mental health. Long-term usage of roofies can cause serious health issues and memory loss.

Second, addiction treatment gives people back control over their life, enabling them to make wise decisions and mend any relationships that may have become damaged due to addiction.

Finally, drug treatment offers a nurturing setting where people may address underlying problems, create coping skills, and discover better methods to manage stress and emotions. In addition to preventing recurrence and lowering the likelihood of victimization in the future, treatment, and rehabilitation are essential.

Roofied: How is Rohypnol Abuse Treated?

Individuals may escape the cycle of addiction, reclaim their independence, and open the door to a better and more meaningful future by getting treatment.

Seeking expert aid and support is critical when treating Rohypnol abuse. Roofies are powerful sedatives with a significant potential for overuse and reliance, making overcoming addiction to these drugs difficult. Here are some treatment and rehabilitation options:

Medical Detoxification

The first step in treating roofie addiction is often medical detoxification. Under the supervision of healthcare professionals, individuals gradually reduce their dosage or switch to a safer substitute medication to manage withdrawal symptoms.

This process helps cleanse the body of the drug while ensuring the safety and comfort of the individual.

Therapy and Counseling

Psychological interventions are crucial in treating roofie addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), individual counseling, and group therapy can help address underlying issues, identify triggers, develop coping mechanisms, and prevent relapse.

In addition, these therapeutic approaches aim to promote self-awareness, emotional healing, and positive behavioral changes.

Support Groups

Joining support organizations, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can give a helpful network of others going through similar situations. These organizations provide a forum for those in recovery to share their experiences, get advice, and gain strength from one another.

Dual Diagnosis

Many people who struggle with roofie addiction also have co-occurring mental health conditions. It is critical to treat both addiction and any underlying mental health disorders simultaneously. Dual-diagnosis treatment programs enable holistic recovery by mixing therapy for addiction and mental health concerns.

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Would you like more information about the dangers of being roofied? Reach out today.

The Forge Recovery Center Specializes in Treating the Survivors of Trauma

At The Forge Recovery Center, we’re guided by a trauma-informed philosophy. Recognizing the needs of the survivors of trauma, we’ve carefully assembled an addiction center that’s warm, welcoming, and safe.

At The Forge, a person can safely explore the roots of their trauma and find new, healthy ways of living with it…and moving past it into a happier future. Our dedicated dual diagnosis program also treats substance abuse. With us, you’ll have the support you need to develop the coping mechanisms and tools to build a healthy life for yourself.

Reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today to learn more.

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