- “Roofie” is slang for sedating drugs slipped into drinks to facilitate sexual assault or other crimes.
- Common symptoms of being roofied include brain fog, compromised judgment, muscle relaxation, and excessive intoxication.
- If you suspect you’ve been roofied, call 911 as soon as possible. Try to rehydrate.
- If you suspect someone else has been roofied, call 911. Stay with the person and offer fluids.
Being roofied is a phrase associated with being drugged against one’s will. The term roofie is generic slang to depict a tablet of a sedative and hypnotic drug used illicitly for the purposes of committing sexual assault or other crimes.
Which Drugs Are Used?
Several drugs can fall into the roofie category. They share similar characteristics. Most are sedating substances that cause retroactive amnesia. Assailants use them to incapacitate their victims and ensure they can’t make accurate police reports after the assault.
Common drugs used as roofies include the following:
- Rohypnol: The benzodiazepine drug flunitrazepam is sold under the brand name Rohypnol. This drug treats severe insomnia and is sometimes prescribed as an anesthetic.
- Ketamine: Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic drug used in both human and veterinary medicine. Doctors sometimes use it to treat severe depression or chronic pain.
- Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB): GHB is an illegal drug in the sedative class. It produces feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and sociability.
- Etizolam: This drug is similar to benzodiazepines and works as an anticonvulsant and muscle relaxer.
- Clonazepam: The brand-name drug Klonopin contains clonazepam. This benzodiazepine drug is used to treat panic disorder, anxiety, and seizures.
In the U.K., 11% of women claim to have been a victim of roofies or drink spiking.YouGov
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sexual violence occurs to millions of individuals in the United States every year. About half of women have or will experience sexual assault that involves some form of physical contact over the course of their lifespan, while one in three men will have experienced a sex crime committed against them over the course of their lifespan.
Even in a seemingly innocuous state like Utah, public health data resources suggest that one in six women experience rape (a figure that also includes attempted rape) during their lifetime.
In a study of college students, more than 1 in 13 reported being drugged.
Symptoms of Being Roofied
Many date rape drugs come in the form of pills, powders, or liquids. They are often odorless and colorless when added to food or beverages. In many cases, it is difficult to know when a drink or food item has been roofied.
Victims might experience the following signs of being roofied.
|Mental Symptoms||Physical Symptoms||Behavioral Symptoms|
|Paranoia||Stumbling or staggering||Increased sex drive|
|Indecisiveness||Slow breathing rates||Panic|
|Hallucinations||Muscle relaxation||Slow reaction times|
|Memory loss||Intensified hangover||Difficulty speaking|
What to Do if You Think You’ve Been Roofied
Call 911 as soon as possible. While you wait, rehydrate as much as you can.
If you think you’ve been roofied, act quickly to protect yourself. It may be tempting to change your location, but it is more important to call 911 as soon as possible.
Stay where you are unless you believe you are in danger. Under no circumstances should anyone roofied or drugged attempt to operate a vehicle. While waiting for proper authorities, rehydrate to the best of your ability.
If you believe you were roofied the night before, seek medical attention. A doctor can perform a medical examination to determine if you have been sexually assaulted.
Avoid taking a shower before you seek medication attention. This will help ensure that you do not compromise any evidence.
|Do This||Don’t Do This|
|Call 911||Drive to change your location|
|Drink water||Drink more alcohol|
|Stay where you are (if it’s safe to do so)||Move if you’re not in danger|
How to Help Someone Who Has Been Roofied
If you suspect someone has been roofied or given a date rape drug, there are a few things you can do to help.
Take the following steps:
- Offer water or another nonalcoholic beverage.
- Ask what happened.
- Note their physical and mental health symptoms.
- Call 911 and report what you’ve noticed.
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
Tips to Avoid Being Roofied
Avoidance is the best roofie defense. Stick with friends and those you trust to ensure your safety in party situations.
Additional prevention measures include the following:
- Don’t leave drinks unattended.
- Never accept a drink from a stranger.
- Keep your drink covered, either with a coaster or your hand.
- Use date rape drug testing strips.
Potential Long-Term Effects of Roofies or Date Rape Drugs
Researchers say most people recover from one-time roofie episodes without long-term physical challenges. One dose of Rohypnol or a benzodiazepine isn’t typically enough to trigger an addiction or cause other chronic conditions.
But enduring a rape or attempted rape can be devastating. People who have been attacked say they don’t feel comfortable at parties or bars. Even thinking about these spaces fills them with anxiety.
If you’ve been roofied, even if the assault never happened, talk to a mental health professional. Therapy can help you process the trauma, so you can enjoy social occasions once again.
Date Rape & Sexual Assault Support Resources
If you believe you or someone you know has been slipped a roofie or date rape drug, or experienced any form of sexual assault, these support options are available:
- RAINN: RAINN is the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. It is a valuable anti-sexual assault resource. RAINN provides a convenient chat feature as well as a hotline for those who believe they have fallen victim to sexual assault and/or harassment.
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center: NSVRC provides resources and tools for survivors of sexual violence, educators, advocates, and friends and family members.
- State-specific resources: Many states also have their own sexual assault hotline and support services. Depending on your state of residence, there may be multiple resources you can explore to obtain the support and direction you need after experiencing sexual assault of any kind.
- Ibbetson, C. One in nine women say they have had their drink spiked. YouGov.UK. Published November 18, 2021. Accessed June 22, 2023.
- Fast facts: Preventing sexual violence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published June 22, 2022. Accessed June 22, 2023.
- Health indicator report of sexual violence. Utah Department of Health and Human Services. Published November 4, 2021. Accessed June 22, 2023.
- Swan S, Woodbrown V, Schramm A, Warren P, Lasky N, Fisher B, Bonsu J, Coker A, Williams C. Just a dare or unaware? Outcomes and motives of drugging (“drink spiking”) among students at three college campuses. Psychology of Violence. 2017, Vol. 7, No. 2, 253–264.
- Beynon, C., Edwards, S., Morlen, M., Anderson, Z., & McVeigh, J. (2005). Drink Spiking Report. Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University