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Rohypnol - the so-called date rape drug

What is the date rape drug?

The "date rape drug" is the common name for Rohypnol, generically called flunitrazepam. Rohypnol is manufactured by Hoffman-La Roche and prescribed as a sleeping pill in some countries. It is used as a short-term treatment for insomnia, as a sedative hypnotic and a pre-anesthetic. It has physiological effects similar to Valium (diazepam), but is approximately ten times more potent. It is used also as an illicit drug, often in combination with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. Common names for Rohypnol include the following: rophies, roofies, R2, roofenol, Roche, roachies, la rocha, rope, rib, circles, Mexican valium, roach-2, roopies, and ropies. A similar drug is known as clonazepam (Klonopin in the USA)

What does Rohypnol look like?

Rohypnol tablets are white, scored on one side, with the word "ROCHE" and an encircled one or two (depending on the dosage) on the other. They are sold in pre-sealed bubble packs of one or two mg doses. Rohypnol can often be dissolved in a drink, and is undetectable.

Is Rohypnol legal?

It is produced and sold legally by prescription in Europe and Latin America

Who uses Rohypnol and how?

Rohypnol use has been reported on every inhabited continent. It is often used in conjunction with other drugs. It is usually ingested orally, but can be snorted. Teenager use of Rohypnol is increasing. The most common pattern of use is by teenagers and young adults as an alcohol extender in an attempt to create a dramatic "high" most often in combination with beer, or as a drug to incapacitate a victim before a sexual assault. It is slipped into an aloholic drink where it is odourless and tasteless. It has also been known to be added to punch at parties and social gatherings.

What happens when you take Rohypnol?

Rohypnol intoxication is generally associated with impaired judgement and impaired motor skills and can make a victim unable to resist a sexual attack. The combination of alcohol and Rohypnol is also particularly hazardous because together, their effects on memory and judgement are greater than the effects resulting from either taken alone. Effects begin within thirty minutes, peak within two hours, and can persist for up to eight hours. It is commonly reported that persons who become intoxicated on a combination of alcohol and flunitrazepam have "blackouts" lasting eight to twenty-four hours following ingestion. The loss of social inhibitions is another widely reported effect of Rohypnol, when taken alone or in combination with alcohol. Adverse effects of Rohypnol use include, decreased blood pressure, memory impairment, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness, confusion, gastrointestinal disturbances and urinary retention.

Why is Rohypnol called the "date rape drug"?

Rohypnol has been associated with date rape, and has also been called the "Forget Pill," "Trip-and-Fall," and "Mind-Erasers." In combination with alcohol, it can induce a blackout with memory loss and a decrease in resistance. Girls, boys, women and men around the country have reported being raped after being involuntarily sedated with Rohypnol, which was often slipped into their drink by an attacker. The drug has no taste or odour so the victims don't realise what is happening. About ten minutes after ingesting the drug, the victim may feel dizzy and disoriented, simultaneously too hot and too cold, or nauseated. They may experience difficulty speaking and moving, and then pass out. Such victims have no memories of what happened while under the drug's influence.

How can I avoid becoming a victim of rape under the influence of Rohypnol?

Here are a few suggestions for staying aware and alert: ·
  • If you are accepting a drink, make sure it's from an unopened container and that you open it yourself. If that's not possible, watch the bar staff making your drink. ·
  • Don't leave your drink unattended, even to go to the toilet. If possible ask a trusted friend to look after it. ·
  • Notify other people you know about the effects of this dangerous drug. ·
  • If you think that you have been a victim, notify the authorities immediately. ·

Use the "buddy system" ·
  • Tell your friends where you are at a party ·
  • Never leave without accounting for those who came with you.
  • Someone stays sober and watches friends drinks if they are not alert and makes sure they all get home safely ·
  • If you hear someone in your group kidding about "date drugs", pay attention. Often someone planning to use a drug jokes about it to get a reaction from others. This should be a warning: leave the company of that person.

If you become aware that you have been raped or sexually assaulted
  • Go to a place where you feel safe.
  • If you decide to report it to the police, do so as soon as possible, don't wash or change - it may destroy evidence.
  • Don't' take alcohol or drugs.
  • If possible, tell someone what has happened. They can give you support and act as a witness for you.
  • Contact a trusted friend who can be with you at the police station and with the medical examination.
  • Take a change of clothes with you. The police may need clothes for forensic evidence.
  • If you can write down what happened as soon as possible, it may help with your statement.
  • If you choose not to go to the police, go to your doctor or to Accident and Emergency at your local hospital if you are injured.
  • You may wish to consider going to a special clinic for an STD test (the police examination will not include this).
  • Call MPower. We will support you.
  • If you cannot wait until the MPower line is open, the Samaritans will help you.

No-one deserves to be raped.
No survivor deserves the blame.

0808 808 4321

Every thursday evening 8pm to 10pm
or email support@male-rape.org.uk

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