|Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), street-named "roofies," "roachies," "rophies," "ruffies," "roofenol," "roche," "La Rocha," "rope," and "the forget pill" is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche. This hypnotic sedative enhances the effects of alcohol, decreases inhibition, causes sleepiness, and memory loss. However, the drug's medical purpose is quite different; Rohypnol is primarily used as a surgical anesthetic or sleeping pill in about eighty countries, although the US is not one of them. Drug enforcement officials say that Rohypnol is illegally coming into the US from Mexico, Colombia, and Europe.
Unfortunately, the use of drugs, mostly alcohol, by sex abusers to sedate their "prey" has been practiced for centuries. Rohypnol is potentially a more dangerous addition to their arsenal. Many other drugs, primarily from the same family of drugs as Rohypnol (benzodiazepines), can also be used as "rape drugs." Beware. Rohypnol is a cheap and powerful drug — a white, dime-sized pill that dissolves quickly in alcoholic and other beverages, such as soft drinks. Known as a "date rape drug" in high schools, on college campuses, and in other communities across the country, it's being used (mostly by men, according to recent criminal cases) to secretly sedate and sexually assault women and men. Roofie is dropped into drinks at bars and parties, leaving roofie recipients open to suggestion, physically weak, and perhaps most troubling of all, without memory of events that transpire after the drug takes effect. This has made prosecution of "roofie-rape" cases challenging, as people report waking up naked and alone in strange hotel rooms, for example, without any idea of how they got there and who was involved.
Rohypnol creates a bitter taste when dissolved in alcohol. By now, lots of red warning lights should be flashing in your head. For starters, be aware of the color, texture, and taste of your drinks; accepting pre-purchased, open drinks of any kind from strangers and casual acquaintances should be avoided. Rohypnol's misuse also makes it advisable not to leave drinks unattended, even in familiar surroundings.
It's possible for people who were sexually assaulted and suspect that they were drugged to be tested for the presence of Rohypnol and other drugs. These drugs can usually be detected in urine for about three days after ingestion, sometimes even a little longer. However, the sooner someone is tested, the better. Most rape crisis centers and hospitals will be able to run these tests.