Table of Contents
- Roofied Symptoms: Recognizing the Signs and Staying Safe
- Common Date Rape Drugs
- Symptoms of Being Roofied
- Immediate Symptoms
- Progressive Symptoms
- Long-term Symptoms
- How to Recognize if Someone May Have Been Roofied
- Prevention and Safety Tips
- What to Do if You Believe You’ve Been Roofied
- If You or Someone You Know Has Been Roofied, Help Is Available
- Resources and Helplines
Roofied Symptoms: Recognizing the Signs and Staying Safe
What Does “Roofied” Mean?
‘Roofied’ is an informal term that describes the act of drugging a person before sexually assaulting or raping them. The word is similar to ‘roofies’, a slang term for the sedative Rohypnol and other drugs sexual predators use to incapacitate their victims. These drugs can be difficult or nearly impossible to detect when they are mixed into a drink, which contributes to their reputation as “date rape drugs.”
The Risks of Being Roofied
Sexual assault is an awful crime that can be devastating for its victims. Becoming aware of the risks of drinking in a mixed crowd and recognizing the symptoms of being roofied can help prevent someone from being drugged or enable them to find help before an assault takes place.
Common Date Rape Drugs
Roofies, including Rohypnol, have become widely used in the last few decades to harm others who are enjoying a night out. These drugs can have dangerous effects, including memory loss and dissociation, which can leave a person vulnerable to assault. Some of the more common date rape drugs are discussed below:
Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a prescription benzodiazepine—a type of tranquilizer with sedative and hypnotic properties that can induce amnesia and loss of consciousness when taken with alcohol. It’s also called roofies, la rocha, roche, R2, rope, Mexican Valium, circles, and the forget-me pill. Doctors in countries outside the United States sometimes administer Rohypnol as anesthesia before surgery. Rohypnol is easily dissolved and known for being undetectable in drinks, but newer versions of the drug can leave a bluish tint in light-colored drinks. It takes hold within 30 minutes, and the effects can last for several hours.
GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) is a central nervous system depressant that is sometimes prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. It can produce feelings of confusion, drowsiness, and amnesia or sedate a person in large doses. GHB is also known as liquid X, liquid ecstasy, liquid E, easy lay, Georgia home boy, Gib, Goop, G, G-riffic, organic Quaalude, salty water, soap, scoop, or fantasy. It can be found in dissolvable powder or liquid form and has a salty taste that can be masked by other strong flavors in a drink. Effects take hold within 15 to 30 minutes and can last up to six hours.
Ketamine is a dissociative drug that can create a sense of detachment from reality, hallucinogenic effects, amnesia, and loss of consciousness, depending on the strength of the dose. Veterinarians use ketamine as an anesthetic, and doctors sometimes prescribe it in supervised settings to address treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine is also called vitamin K, special K, Kit Kat, and cat valium. It can be found in liquid and powder forms that can be mixed into drinks, and it is more easily detectable because it has an extremely bitter taste. The effects of ketamine last from 30 minutes to an hour.
Symptoms of Being Roofied
The symptoms of being roofied can vary depending on the drug used, the dose, and how it has been mixed. These are some of the effects that can follow when roofies are mixed with alcohol or other beverages.
Dizziness or Light-Headedness
The first signs of being roofied include dizziness, disorientation, and difficulty concentrating, which develop into an intense brain fog.
Feelings of euphoria, mood elevation, and extreme happiness can be common as the drug begins to take effect, especially when it is mixed with alcohol.
Nausea, or feeling unsettled or sick to your stomach, is commonly felt after being drugged.
Memory Loss or Lapses
Date rape drugs can interrupt the process of forming memories and diminish or eliminate the conscious recollection of events that take place while the drug is in effect.
Loss of Motor Control or Coordination
Being drugged can induce a sense of extreme drunkenness that can include a loss of muscle control that can present as slurred speech, stumbling, labored or slowed breathing, and even a sense of paralysis.
It is extremely common to experience memory lapses and be unable to remember specific events or periods of time after being drugged. Many people only realize they have been roofied after they regain consciousness several hours later.
Some people move, speak, and otherwise appear conscious after being roofied but are too intoxicated and cognitively impaired to be fully aware of what is happening around them, hear what is being said, make informed decisions, or give consent.
Blurred sight, tunnel vision, or double vision are all common symptoms of being roofied.
Paranoia or Confusion
Because drugs can impact a person’s sense of reality, they also cause confusion and create paranoia as the person’s mind tries to adapt to the circumstances.
Date rape drugs can cause victims to faint, pass out, and completely lose consciousness.
After regaining consciousness, some people who were roofied may only recall what happened before the drug took hold and never recall what happened after they were drugged.
Ongoing Confusion or Difficulty Concentrating
Some people who have been roofied experience drowsiness and confusion long after they regain consciousness. If they had seizures while under the influence, they may suffer from permanent cognitive impairment.
Physical Discomfort or Injuries from Unrecalled Events
The aftereffects of being roofied can be similar to a bad hangover. Victims may experience headaches, muscle aches, sensitivity to light, and an upset stomach. Survivors who were raped or assaulted may feel sore or experience a sense that they have had sexual intercourse.
Emotional Trauma or Mood Disturbances
Even when people have no recollection of what happened while they were drugged, they may feel a sense of wrongness after they regain consciousness. In severe cases, people may experience symptoms that are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, have difficulty at work and school, and struggle to create and maintain healthy relationships.
How to Recognize if Someone May Have Been Roofied
If you are enjoying a night out, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. These signs may indicate that you or someone around you has been roofied.
Observing Sudden and Uncharacteristic Behavior Changes
People who have been roofied often seem to be aware of their surroundings and enjoy themselves normally until the drug takes effect. At that point, they may suddenly act very drunk, stoned, or unwell.
Difficulty Standing or Walking
If someone consumes a small amount of alcohol yet suddenly becomes intoxicated to the point that they are swaying, staggering, falling down, or otherwise having trouble maintaining their balance, they may have been roofied.
Unresponsive or Semiconscious State
If you see someone who appears to be extremely “out of it”, unable to carry on a conversation, or passed out, it’s possible that they have been drugged.
Prevention and Safety Tips
Being roofied is a frightening crime that can be extremely difficult to think about, but staying knowledgeable and aware can help minimize the chance of assault. Following these tips can help you stay safe.
Never Accept Drinks from Strangers
If a stranger offers you a drink at a party or bar, politely refuse. If you are at a party, pour your own drinks or carefully watch as your drink is made. If you’re out at a bar or club, order your own drink and take it directly from the bartender.
Never Leave Your Drink Unattended
If you need to look around, keep your hand over your drink. If you’re moving to a different area, carry your drink with you.
Drink from Bottles that You Opened Yourself
Sometimes entire bottles of alcohol are spiked with drugs. If possible, only drink from freshly opened bottles or from bottles that are visible on the shelf of a reputable bar or establishment.
Go Out With Friends and Look Out for Each Other
When you go out to a club, bar, party, or event, take along a trusted friend or group of friends and keep an eye on each other. If anyone feels strange, extremely intoxicated, or unwell and shows symptoms of being drugged, make sure that they get immediate medical attention.
Educate Yourself About the Dangers and Risks of Being Roofied
If you’re going to a new place for a night out, ask around or check social media posts to learn about the venue’s reputation. Sometimes people will let you know if an area is known for being dangerous.
Trust Your Instincts
Some companies offer devices that let you test your drink for date rape drugs, but the best defense against being roofied is being cautious and using common sense. Take small sips of your drink, consume it slowly, and stop drinking it right away if it tastes or looks unusual.
What to Do if You Believe You’ve Been Roofied
If you think you’ve been roofied, take the following steps:
Get to a Safe Place
If you believe you or someone else has been roofied, get to a safe place. Don’t drive or leave the area unless there’s a threat. Try to alert your friends about the danger and stay where people can see you until help arrives.
Any person who has been roofied should drink as much water as possible to try to dilute the drug and flush it from the body.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Call 911 or seek medical treatment immediately. It’s easy to lose consciousness very quickly after being drugged, so taking action is essential. Sleeping off the effects is risky; date rape drugs can interact badly with other drugs and cause an overdose.
Avoid Showering or Changing Clothes
If you wake up and suspect you’ve been roofied, don’t bathe or shower, as it could destroy the evidence of sexual assault. Go to the hospital right away. A medical examination can help determine if abuse took place and use a rape kit to collect forensic evidence that can help in the pursuit of legal recourse. In the case of rape, the hospital may prescribe pregnancy prevention medication and suggest further treatment.
Report the Incident to the Police
After seeking medical care, you will need to file a police report. Be sure that they will investigate and attempt to find out who drugged you. Tell them where you were and when you believe you were drugged so they can visit the crime scene and ask staff or witnesses if they noticed anything unusual. If you were at a bar, club, or public event, the police may be able to check the video footage to try to identify the perpetrator.
It’s important to seek help from trusted and supportive friends, family, and therapists after an assault. Personal or group therapy for trauma survivors can provide stability, peace, and healing after the event, so you can enjoy your life again. Check-in with trusted friends or family members who can bring you to doctor’s appointments, help with day-to-day tasks, and help keep your spirits up.
If You or Someone You Know Has Been Roofied, Help Is Available
Whenever you’re getting ready for a night out, it’s important to stay aware and alert and keep yourself safe. Telling your friends about what you know can help them look out for themselves while enabling everyone to look out for each other’s well-being. Take every precaution, but if you do get drugged, remember that the incident is not your fault and that help is available. Live Free Recovery Services in Keene and Manchester, New Hampshire, can help you recover from the effects of the assault so you can live your best life. To get the evidence-based treatment and therapy you need, call us today!
Resources and Helplines
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, these organizations can help:
National Sexual Assault Hotline: This hotline for people affected by sexual violence is operated by RAINN. Calling (800) 656-HOPE will automatically route the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: This site offers a legal resource library and other resources and information about sexual violence.
National Organization for Victim Assistance: NOVA was founded in 1975 as a national victim assistance organization in the United States.