Roofie is often a slang term and is defined as “a tablet of a powerful benzodiazepine sedative and hypnotic drug that is not licensed for medical use in the U.S. but is used illicitly.” A roofie is also known as a “date rape drug.” So what is date rape, and what are some common date rape drugs? Where might you encounter a date rape drug, and what can you do to prevent yourself and others from falling victim to roofies and date rape?
Date rape is defined as “sexual assault by someone you know, like a boyfriend, or someone you recently met, even an acquaintance.” It is common at social parties, clubs and bars for date rape drugs to be dropped in a woman’s drink when she’s not watching. Many times the drug will be odorless, colorless and tasteless, resulting in the woman having no idea she is consuming an illegal drug. Roofie gets its name from one of the most common types of date rape drugs, Rohypnol. This is a benzodiazepine prescription pill that will leave you confused, forgetful and unable to move your body.
The effects of this drug can be felt in 30 minutes. It iss not approved for use in the United States. Other date rape drugs include GHB and ketamine. GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, is also known as cherry meth or goop. It works within 15 minutes, and its effects can last for up to six hours. Ketamine is known as cat valium, special K, and super acid and is an anesthetic. Ketamine reduces pain and distorts perceptions of sight and sound. When consumed in high doses, all of these drugs have extreme and deadly effects on the body, such as affecting the heart rate and digestive system. Mixing these drugs with alcohol puts the user at an increased risk for complications and can lead to death.
A roofie is a common way for men to manipulate women in order to rape or date rape them. Some common places where date rape drugs might be used include large social gatherings such as college parties or bars and clubs. When going to these types of events, it is best to go with a group of people you trust and to stay together. If you have to go to the bathroom, ensure you know who is holding your drink.
Also, ensure you are looking out for others in your group. Another simple thing you can do to prevent getting roofied is how you hold your drink. If it’s an open cup, hold your drink on top so that a majority of the opening is covered by your hand when you are not drinking it. If lids are available, that is an easy way to prevent someone from sliding something in your drink.
There are also some products on the market to help women determine if their drink has been drugged. One of these products is called Undercover Colors. This product is a small test tablet or “SipChip” that screens for drugs in 30 seconds to three minutes with just one drop of the mixed drink. SipChip tests for the most common date rape drugs.
Another product is called Nightcap, which is a drink spiking prevention scrunchie. This product works by having a drink cover in a hidden scrunchie pocket. You place the cover over your drink and use the reusable straw to enjoy. When finished or not in use, put the cover back in the pocket and wear the scrunchie on your wrist.
Both of these products are clean ways to ensure drink safety. Another way to ensure drink safety is to bring your own drinks. This will give you more control of what you are drinking and how much you are consuming. If you are ever out and start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or strange in any other way, seek help immediately. If you no longer trust who you are with, many bartenders will help you or call you a taxi home.
While it is common to encounter date rape drugs while you are out, 55% of date rapes occurred in the victim’s own home. This happens because at home many women put their guard down and feel as if they are in a safe place. Yet, “25% of reported date rapes are committed by someone very close to the victim, such as a current ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or even an ex-spouse” (P, Kim 2018). Thus, taking steps to ensure you are safe is key.
When at home, it’s best to always have a lid on your drink and ensure that your containers are in a safe place, such as in the back of the fridge, the back of a cabinet, or in another room altogether. If you start to feel strange or unsafe, call 911 immediately.
If you encounter a date rape drug or occurrence, remember that you are not at fault. Even if alcohol was involved, you are still not to blame. PTSD, depression or other negative emotional behaviors are normal. Rape and sexual assault is a crisis within the United States, so much so, that every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.
Additionally, over 18% of women will experience date rape at some point in their lives. This shows that you are not alone. If you have experienced rape or date rape, there are resources to help you. RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
To get help, you can:
- Call: 800-656p4673
- Chat online at: online.rainn.org
Date rape is not just something that happens at a college party. It happens at common bars and clubs, the victim’s home and at relatives’ homes. Taking steps to ensure your drink is safe, like the Nightcap, can protect you against being roofied.
Date rape drugs are odorless, colorless and tasteless, so it can be hard to determine if you have come into contact with a date rape drug. Test kits like SipChip are small and compact and can be used discreetly to test your drink for common drugs. Rape and date rape are very real issues in the United States and don’t just occur with strangers. Staying informed, educated and smart can help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Women’s Care Florida. “How to avoid getting roofied.” October 24, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2021.
Nightcap. “Nightcap™: The drink spiking prevention scrunchie.” Accessed April 16, 2021.
P, Kim. “Date rape statistics.” August 22, 2018. Accessed April 16, 2021.
Merriam-Webster. “Roofie – Noun.” Accessed April 16, 2021.
Undercover Colors. “Sipchip drink spiking test for date rape drug detection.” Accessed April 16, 2021.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). “Victims of sexual violence: Statistics.” Accessed April 16, 2021.