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How to Tell if You’ve Been Roofied

Perpetrators often use date rape drugs to commit sexual assault crimes. Date rape drugs are narcotics meant to sedate or incapacitate a victim to varying degrees so that a perpetrator can take advantage of a victim without his or her consent.

Perpetrators often use date rape drugs to commit sexual assault crimes. Date rape drugs are narcotics meant to sedate or incapacitate a victim to varying degrees so that a perpetrator can take advantage of a victim without his or her consent. One of the most commonly used date rape drugs is Rohypnol, more commonly known as a roofie. Learn the red flags of being roofied to enable you to get help before it’s too late.

Facts About Rohypnol

Rohypnol is the brand name for flunitrazepam, a powerful sedative drug that works by depressing the central nervous system. It belongs to a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It is not legal to obtain a prescription for Rohypnol in the U.S. However, it is legal in many other countries to treat insomnia. It is a tranquilizer that is about 10 times stronger than Valium.

Rohypnol can take effect and cause noticeable symptoms within 30 minutes of ingestion. The symptoms typically peak within two hours and can last eight hours or longer. When consumed with alcohol or prescription medications, the effects of Rohypnol are more extreme and dangerous. Combined with alcohol, a roofie can lead to amnesia and disinhibition (a lack of restraint).

This drug comes in the form of a small white or olive-green pill that can be swallowed whole, snorted or dissolved in a drink. Rohypnol is odorless, colorless, tasteless and dissolves easily. You may not be able to spot it in your drink. You can, however, recognize the common signs of being roofied if you know what to look for – giving you time to get someplace safe, tell someone or go to the police.

Brain Fog

One of the first signs reported when under the influence of Rohypnol is brain fog. You may suddenly feel spacey, foggy, disoriented, distant or confused. It may be difficult to form a complete thought or focus on anything. You may feel forgetful and struggle with mental clarity. Unfortunately, it is common for victims who’ve been roofied to attribute brain fog to alcohol they’ve consumed the same night, making this effect more difficult to identify.

Excessive Drunkenness

If you are drinking alcohol when someone roofies you, you may believe that the symptoms you are experiencing are connected to the alcohol. However, you may notice an unexplained or excessive level of drunkenness that does not match how much you have had to drink. If you or a friend notices behaviors that are uncharacteristic of you based on how much you have had to drink, it may be a sign that someone has slipped you a date rape drug.

Slurred Speech

One of the effects of Rohypnol is muscle relaxation. This could manifest itself in the muscles of your face, including your tongue, and lead to slurred speech. If your friends suddenly point out that you “sound drunk” or they can’t understand you, this may be a sign that you’ve been

Feeling Drowsy or Sedated

Sleepiness, drowsiness or feelings of sedation are common effects of Rohypnol. This is what the drug was originally intended for – to help people with insomnia fall asleep. You may notice slower reflexes or reaction times, as well as an overall feeling of sluggishness. If you suddenly feel drowsy, especially while it is still early in the night, do not ignore this feeling. It could be a sign that something is wrong.

Reduced Anxiety

Rohypnol can produce feelings of ease and reduced anxiety. You may suddenly feel more relaxed and comfortable in your environment or social situations if you’ve been roofied. Again, reduced anxiety is also commonly connected to alcohol, so this can be difficult to spot if you get roofied while drinking.


Another common effect of Rohypnol is dizziness. If the room around you is spinning or you suddenly feel lightheaded, take note. Dizziness or “the spins” is often associated with alcohol consumption and can be easily written off as a normal sign of intoxication. However, excessive or unusual dizziness, or feeling dizzy when you’ve hardly consumed any alcohol, could be a sign of a roofie.

Muscle Relaxation

Rohypnol can act as a light muscle relaxer. You may notice eased muscle tension or a feeling of physical relaxation come over you. It could cause a loss of motor coordination, imbalance, poor mobility skills or a feeling of muscle weakness. You may find it difficult to walk or stand on your own. If this is not normal for you when you drink alcohol – or if you’re sober when you notice these feelings – it may be a sign of a date rape drug in your system.

Unusual Interactions With Strangers

One potential sign that you’ve been roofied has nothing to do with the physical effects of the drug but more with the situation around you. If you have any notable, unusual or uncomfortable interactions with strangers during the night before you start feeling strange, this could be a sign that you’ve been drugged. If you turned someone down, noticed anyone lurking around your friend group or saw them watching you, this is a red flag.


Being roofied on top of taking other drugs or drinking alcohol can lead to extreme effects, such as total amnesia. This means the victim experiences complete memory loss and is unable to remember what happened while he or she was under the influence of the drug. Amnesia is a greater possibility with large doses of Rohypnol. It can also cause a loss of consciousness. This blackout effect is one of the reasons it became so popular as a date rape drug.

Other Common Drink-Spiking Drugs and Their Effects

Roofies are not the only drug you need to be aware of in terms of drink spiking. Someone could slip many different types of drugs into your drink, including “party drugs” like ecstasy, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ketamine and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). These are stimulants that can have a wide range of effects, including:

  • Muscle incoordination
  • Loss of balance
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Hallucinations
  • Visual problems
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling detached or numb
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Altered sense of surroundings
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Feelings of euphoria

When mixed with alcohol, the effects of any drug can become stronger, more emphasized and unpredictable. If you notice any physical or cognitive changes that are not normal for you during a night out, be suspicious. Tell your friends how you are feeling and ask for a safe ride home or to the hospital immediately. 

What to Do if You Think You Were Roofied

If you suspect you have ingested a roofie or another type of drug, tell a trusted friend or family member right away. You need someone you trust to stay with you and help keep you safe. Ask them to take you to a medical center or hospital without delay. At a hospital, they can test you for drugs to help prove that you were roofied. You can also receive professional medical care to help alleviate the symptoms of the drug or monitor you for a severe reaction, such as difficulty breathing or a short-term coma.

If you woke up and don’t remember what happened the night before but have reason to believe you were drugged and/or sexually assaulted, call the police right away. Report your suspicions and give them all of the information you have. You should also let the bar or establishment where you were roofied know what happened. They can check their security cameras to look for anyone suspicious. 

Go to a hospital for a sexual assault forensic exam. This is a physical exam that can search for any evidence of sexual assault, such as the perpetrator’s DNA and photographs of any marks on your body. You also have the option of speaking to a counselor about what happened to you. Then, contact a sexual assault lawyer in Los Angeles for legal advice.

Taking Legal Action if You’ve Been Roofied

If you get roofied or drugged, you can work with the police to find and bring charges against the culprit. Reporting the crime to the police can open an investigation that may lead to identifying the perpetrator. You can press charges against the offender for “inflicting bodily harm” by drugging you. If the perpetrator kidnapped, sexually assaulted or raped you while you were under the influence of Rohypnol, he or she can face more severe charges.

You may also have grounds to file a civil claim against someone for roofying you and assaulting you. A sexual assault lawsuit could lead to financial compensation being given to you from the offender to help you pay for related hospital bills, therapy, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and any other harm you suffered in the event. An experienced attorney can help you with the legal process from beginning to end.

Tips for Socializing Safely

Being roofied is never your fault as a victim. However, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of unknowingly taking a date rape drug. Go out with a group and use the buddy system, if you can. Whether you go alone or with friends, use the following tips for safer socializing:

  • Be aware of others in the room with you, especially people you don’t know. 
  • Never accept a drink from someone else if you did not watch him or her make it. 
  • Watch your drink at all times. 
  • Never leave your drink unattended – take it everywhere.
  • Keep one hand over the top of your drink while you’re holding it.
  • Pay attention to how you feel throughout the night. 
  • If you start feeling severely intoxicated or strange, find a safe ride home immediately. 

Unfortunately, having a drink spiked is all too common at bars, restaurants, festivals, concerts, and other social venues and events. The best way to protect yourself is through education and awareness. Knowing the signs that are often present if someone has been roofied can help you take action early.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is regarded as America's leading law firm for sexual abuse cases. As a firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases, our California law firm offers experienced representation to obtain justice for sexual abuse survivors, harassment, and discrimination.

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