Remarks on Rohypnol
The illicit use of Rohypnol, a sedative ten times more powerful than Valium, has entered the college scene .
Also known as "roofies," "rophies" and the "forget pill," Rohypnol creates an enhanced intoxicated feeling when combined with alcohol. This combination causes memory loss and impairs judgment once in the body for at least one hour.
However, the euphoric feeling lasts several hours. It is during this period that females are most vulnerable to rape, giving the drug its nickname: the "date rape drug."
Because of the drugs tiny size, it can easily be slipped into any type of drink in a discreet manner. Rohypnol is odorless, tasteless and colorless.
Dr. Dennis J. Reardon, coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Prevention Programs for the Texas A&M Department of Student Life Programs, said when combined with alcohol, Rohypnol produces a multiplication effect that can be fatal.
"For instance, if you were to mix one beer with one Valium, you wouldnt get the combined effects of just one beer and one Valium," Reardon said. "Instead, you get a multiplication of the two drugs that is unpredictable."
Reardon said the human body systems that respond are expected to adjust to the Rohypnol and alcohol at the same time.
"This is why it is so dangerous," Reardon said. "They may have a life-threatening crisis occur as a result of the alcohol and Rohypnol."
Because victims are often unable to identify their attackers due to memory loss induced by the drug, potential offenders can use Rohypnol to their advantage.
Linda Castoria, executive director at the Brazos County Rape Crisis Center, said each of three sexual assault victims described similar conditions about feeling "out of it." They left their drinks unattended and could not remember if they drove or where they went.
"They dont know what hit them," Castoria said. "It literally puts them out."
Castoria said since the three victims had similar responses relating to the effects of Rohypnol, there is a strong possibility the drug was used.
Castoria said it is difficult to determine if Rohypnol is used in rape cases since it does not stay in the body for a long period of time. A drug test has to be done within 48 hours, but even then, medical examiners may not know what drug to look for.
In sexual assault cases where Rohypnol is used, victims may not want to report it to authorities.
In the case of Rohypnol, they may not remember and they want to forget about it.
During a camp this summer, about 400 students indicated they were familiar with the drug. This is an indication to him that word is getting out and people are becoming more educated.
Women can avoid victimization by knowing who they are going out with, never leaving drinks unattended and being conscious, he said.
Trust your instincts.
Rohypnol is legal in Mexico and South America and is primarily used as a pre-surgery relaxant. It is illegal in the United States, even for prescriptions.
Because of the United States proximity to Mexico, Rohypnol is easy to smuggle in and possess in large quantities.