Date-Rape Drugs: Party Gone Through The “Roofie”

by admin on October 12, 2022

By Annika Lindorsson Krugel

The headlines this week saw a house party go terribly wrong with 12 teenagers rushed to hospital following a suspected mass date-rape drug overdose. The drug is thought to have been poured into the drinks of the party-goers, in particular those of young girls, in Roslyn, Washington.

The girls reported having no more than one or two drinks during the night, yet one patient remains in a serious condition in hospital. The police cannot confirm what drug had been used but said blood samples are being taken from the victims to be tested for flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) as well as ecstasy.

Characteristics of Rohypnol

Rohypnol is one of the first drugs to be named a “date-rape” drug. It is also known as roofies, forget pill, la rocha, mexican valium, roachies, getting roached, rophy and many other names.

Rohypnol is a short-acting benzodiazepine with similar properties to Valium. However, its sedative effects have been established to be approximately 7 to 10 times stronger than those of Valium.

It can legally be prescribed in many countries to help treat insomnia, as a pre-medication in surgical procedures or for inducing anesthesia, but Rohypnol is in the U.S. a classified drug.

Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act

As a result of its wide use to make possible various crimes, in particular rape, the U.S. Congressed passed the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act, 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(b)(7), which President Bill Clinton signed in 1996 and that “provides criminal penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment for any person who distributes a controlled substance, such as Rohypnol, to a person with the intent to commit a crime of violence, including rape.”

Rohypnol: A Date-Rape Drug

Rohypnol is tasteless as well as odorless, which makes it an ideal drug to use for criminals wishing to drug others without their knowledge; the pill can easily be slipped into a drink without being noticed. The effects start as soon as 10-15 minutes after consumption, when dizziness, drowsiness and confusion set in. Often victims also report partial amnesia; in not being able to remember anything that has happened to them or where they have been.

This is a particularly problematic aspect of the drug; a person who has fallen victim of a date-rape drug is often not able to recall any details about neither the incident nor the perpetrator. For this reason, it is very difficult to establish how many Rohypnol-related incidents are taking place.

Blood samples need to be taken within 72 hours after being subjected to the drug in order for it to be detected.

Rohypnol is also abused for other reasons; it is often combined with heroin to boost the rush, or with cocaine to tone it down. It is often consumed with alcohol, which is very dangerous as they intensify each other’s toxicity.

Sources:

Amitis Oskoui (2010) Mass Drug Overdose at Wash. College Party Linked to Date Rape Drug, Oct 12, 2022

http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978587682

Department of Justice, Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act

http://www.justice.gov/ag/readingroom/drugcrime.htm

Department of Public Safety, What Are Date Rape Drugs?

http://www.dps.siu.edu/cp_drug_awareness.htm

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