More >>> Violent Crime Statistics • Date Rape Information • FAQ Women's Self Defnese • Women's Self Defense Classes • Women's Self Defense Training • Tips for Personal and Family Security


One of the most popular myths is that strangers who are lurking in the bushes somewhere commit rapes. While these rapes do occur, most rapes are committed by acquaintances, someone you know, perhaps a boyfriend, friend, husband, or relative. Almost half of all rapes occur in the victim's home or room.


Many times a woman will not want to confront her assailant, for fear of losing a job, getting a bad grade or losing respect within the community. Women sometimes look towards themselves, asking what they did wrong, therefore shifting the blame away from where it really should be.

The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of your surroundings and the people that you're with. Don't ignore feelings of uneasiness you may feel around a certain man, and don't worry about being rude or unfriendly. If someone is making you uncomfortable, don't let them intimidate you, and don't be afraid to let them know what your limits are. Keep in mind that whether you know the man, if it is a friend, if they assault you, it is rape and it can be reported.

"DATE RAPE" DRUG (Rohypnol)

What is the "date rape" drug?
What does Rohypnol look like?
Is Rohypnol legal?
Who uses Rohypnol and how?
Why has there been an increase in teen use of Rohypnol?
What happens when you take Rohypnol? What are the side effects?
Is Rohypnol addictive?
Why is Rohypnol called the "date rape drug"?
Are there other "date rape" type drugs?
How can I avoid becoming a victim of rape under the influence of Rohypnol or GHB?

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 countries outside of the United States. 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 U.S. and Rivotril in Mexico.)

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 undetectable.

Is Rohypnol legal?

No, Rohypnol is not manufactured or sold legally in the United States. However, it is produced and sold legally by prescription in Europe and Latin America. It is smuggled into the United States by mail or delivery services.

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. Teen 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.

Why has there been an increase in teen use of Rohypnol?

First, Rohypnol is a low-cost drug, sold at less than $5.00 per tablet. Second, common misconceptions may explain the drug's popularity with young people: 1) many erroneously believe that the drug is unadulterated because it comes in pre-sealed bubble packs -- and therefore tamper-proof and safe; 2) many mistakenly think its use cannot be detected by urinalysis testing.

What happens when you take Rohypnol? What are the side effects?

Rohypnol intoxication is generally associated with impaired judgment 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 judgment 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. Disinhibition (losing your 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.

Is Rohypnol addictive?

Yes. Rohypnol can cause physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms include headache, muscle pain, confusion, hallucinations and convulsions. Seizures may occur up to a week after cessation of use.

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 and women 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 odor so the victims don't realize what is happening. About ten minutes after ingesting the drug, the woman may feel dizzy and disoriented, simultaneously too hot and too cold, or nauseated. She may experience difficulty speaking and moving, and then pass out. Such victims have no memories of what happened while under the drug's influence.

Are there other "date rape" type drugs?

Since about 1990, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutrate) has been abused in the U.S. for euphoric, sedative, and anabolic (bodybuilding) effects. As with Rohypnol, GHB has been associated with sexual assault in cites throughout the country. Common names include, "liquid ecstasy," "somatomax," "scoop," or "grievous bodily harm."

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

Here are a few suggestions for staying aware and alert:

  • or long enough to trust. If you are accepting a drink, make sure it's from an unopened container and that you open it yourself.
  • Don't put your drink down and leave it unattended, even to go to the restroom.
  • Notify other females you know about the effects of this dangerous drug.
  • If you think that you have been a victim, notify the authorities immediately.
  • Always carry a DrinkSafe Card with you.

Some additional steps to be taken in preventing date rape are:

  • If you live alone, only use your first initial and your last name on your mailbox.
  • There is safety in numbers, travel in groups whenever possible.
  • Take a self-defense course for women and learn how to resist an assailant.
  • Keep in mind that any date can turn into a date rape.
  • Know the name of the men that you date, and be reserved on the first day. Perhaps offer to pay for yourself so that you don't 'owe' anything.
  • If you're going home with a man that you don't know very well, make sure that someone else knows, and let the man know this as well.
  • If you begin to feel uncomfortable let him know right away that he's gone too far. Look for a way to leave.
  • Never feel that you have to give in to sexual intercourse. If you feel pressure, leave.
  • Use drugs and alcohol with caution.

For more information . . .

You can find out more about Rohypnol by contacting the National Women's Health Information Center (800-994-9662) or the following organizations:

National Institute on Drug Abuse
Phone: (888) NIH-NIDA Internet Address:
http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDAHome1.html

American Council for Drug Education
Phone: (800) 488-3784 Internet Address:
http://www.acde.org/

American Society of Addiction Medicine
Phone: (301) 656-3920 Internet Address:
http://www.asam.org/

Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse
Phone: (401) 444-1817 Internet Address:
http://www.amersa.org/

This information was abstracted from fact sheets prepared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Rohypnol and GHB -
http://165.112.78.61/Infofax/RohypnolGHB.html.

All material contained in the FAQs is free of copyright restrictions, and may be copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services; citation of the source is appreciated.