Kids know them as roofies. 2
Imagine all the fears of parents whose daughters have hit dating age packed into one white pill the size of a dime.3 You probably remember stories about the party punch spiked with alcohol or the brownies baked with marijuana. Well its still happening . . . but now its those drugs plus some new ones.4
In about 10 minutes, it creates a drunklike effect lasting eight hours. It strengthens the effects of alcohol, causing loss of inhibition, sleepiness, relaxation and perhaps worst of all for its victims amnesia.
The pill is made of a drug called Rohypnol.9 Rohypnol is known by various street names: Roachies, La Roche, Rope, Rib, Roche, Rophies, Roofies, Ruffies. In an unconfirmed report out of Australia, it was referred to as Stupefi, and it has also been designated the Quaalude of the 90s in some media reports.10
Like Quaaludes, the trademark for methaqualone,ii a drug popular in the 1970s, Rohypnol can make people forget their troubles.11 It is also known as the forget pill because it can cause temporary blackouts.12 It has been used to extend or ease the effects of other drugs, or dropped in a drink to incapacitate unsuspecting people, leaving them with no memory of an assault or robbery.13
Rohypnol is a potent and hypnotic sedative,14 is 10 times more powerful than the commonly prescribed sedative Valium and is used legally in 64 countries before surgery and in treating insomnia.15 They are legally prescribed as sleeping pills in about 80 countries but not in the United States16 though Colombian drug traffickers, long the source of most of the worlds cocaine, are smuggling [the] powerful sedative onto the streets of the United States.17 The U.S. Customs Service said [5 March 1996] it is sealing the border against…Rohypnol.18 The United States…banned imports of the sedative Rohypnol and said it would seize it from individuals, in the mail or in commercial shipments.19
Police in several states say men have slipped pills into womens drinks prior to sexual assaults.20 Its the amnesia producing effects of Rohypnol that make it the drug of choice for prospective rapists.21 In Rohypnol related rapes, victims who are slipped the drug become dizzy and disoriented, and have trouble moving their arms and legs.22 Many cases have been reported, mostly in [Florida, Texas,23] and California.24
[From 1 Jan to 28 June 1996, Floridas32] poison control center ha[d] logged more than 100 reports of sexual assaults on victims [incapacitated by] roofies and law enforcement officials say abuse among teenagers is growing.33 In just three weeks, more than 100,000 tablets of this drug were declared and brought into the country through Laredo, [Texas,] alone, said Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.34
The drug, first seen in Florida in 1992, has proliferated to such a point that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have joined forces with local police to have Rohypnols illegal drug status strengthened to make penalties equal to [LSD,35] cocaine and heroin.
A lot of times the guys dont think theyve done anything wrong, said Cooper City, [Florida,] Police Detective Kregg Lupo. This is not a rape in their eyes. They think if the girl is not awake or alert enough to say, No, its not rape.
Its very difficult making these cases, said Dennis Nicewander, an assistant state attorney in the Broward sex crimes unit. Usually these victims . . . dont remember a thing.
Its almost like the perfect crime, he said. Because they dont have to worry about a witness testifying against them. And dont think these guys arent figuring that out.
The drug also has the potential to make rapists out of men who without the drug might not commit the crime, he said.
Usually, they arent the kind of guys who would force themselves on someone for sex. They seem to be the kind of guys youd see at happy hour with their buddies, the kind of frat boy mentality that thinks its fun to get a girl drunk and have their way. 36
We simply cannot, in good conscience, stand by and leave our wives and daughters, sisters and mothers, vulnerable to these sexual predators, said Rep. Gerald Soloman, R N.Y.37 The only way to protect them is to guarantee hard prison time for these cowards. 38
I can tell you I have told my 17 year old daughter never to accept a beverage of any kind from anyone unless it is in a sealed container that she opens herself, [Stan Peacock] said. Does that give you any kind of an idea how concerned I am about it? 39
In addition to using the drug to gain power over others, high school and college students are increasingly taking Rohypnol to lower inhibitions.40 It is often taken in combination with beer as an alcohol extender. 41 They take a pill and they drink a beer and theyre high for an entire day, said police Sgt. John Johnston of Coral Gables, Fla.42
U.S. Customs Service Commissioner Gerorge Weise described it as the party drug of today. 43 The drug Rohypnol is gaining popularity as a cheap high in Colombia, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries.44
In an emergency move to stem use, Floridas attorney general upgraded the penalty for possessing the sedative Rohypnol.45 Rohypnol was previously grouped with drugs having a low potential for abuse.46 Now, the penalty for possessing Rohypnol has increased from three to 30 years in prison.47
The House, by a vote of 421 - 1, approved legislation [26 Sep 1996] making it a crime to possess Rohypnol and similar powerful tranquilizers with the intent to commit a violent crime, including sexual assault.48 Use of…powerful tranquilizers to subdue rape victims would carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.49 The potential jail term increases to 20 years when the victim is aged 14 or younger.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D Calif., voted no. She said it was haphazard and dishonest election year legislation that does not address similar use of other intoxicating substances, such as alcohol or cocaine. It just sounds like typical political legislating by Republicans, she said.50
The [US] Senate acted by voice vote [3 Oct 1996] to control use of Rohypnol. The bill must return to the House, where a slightly different version was [previously] approved.51 Separately, the House, by voice vote, approved and sent to President Clinton a Senate bill requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] to establish a national database to keep track of felons convicted of sex crimes involving violence or minors. The data base will include names, addresses, fingerprints and photos. The bill requires released offenders to register with the FBI which in turn is required to notify state officials when an offender moves. Community organizations and private groups could tap into the database via local law enforcement.52
Rohypnol, made by the Swiss company Roche [a.k.a. Hoffman-Larouch,53 a.k.a. Hoffman La Roche,54 a.k.a. Roche Pharmaceuticals, Inc.55], is not sold in the United States but is available by prescription in Colombia, as well as in other South American countries, Asia and Europe.56 Rohypnol is marketed and manufactured in Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia,57…[and] although Rohypnol is illegal in the United States, residents have been able to bring it in with a doctors prescription from Mexico or any of the 60 countries where the drug is legal.58, 59
Roche says it is not selling Rohypnol in the United States because there is too much competition with other sedatives.60 [Roche also] announced…it is converting to a smaller dose pill that will not dissolve as easily in a drink.61
Rohypnol [flunitrazepam] belongs to the family of medications called benzodiazepines which includes Valium (diazepam), Librium (chlorodiazepoxide) and Xanax (alprazolam).62 Like other benzodiazepines, flunitrazepam taken alone is unlikely to produce death, even if an overdose is taken. Combining flunitrazepam with alcohol reduces the safety margin, however, and is more likely to be lethal due to enhanced central nervous system depression. Rohypnol intoxication is generally associated with impaired judgment and impaired motor skills, and the combination of alcohol and flunitrazepam is also particularly hazardous because together, their effects on memory and judgement are greater than the effects resulting from either taken alone. It is commonly reported that persons who become intoxicated on a combination of alcohol and flunitrazepam have blackouts lasting 8 to 24 hours following ingestion. Disinhibition is another widely reported effect of Rohypnol, when taken either alone or in combination with alcohol.63
Like other sedative hypnotics, flunitrazepam can produce physical dependence, and abrupt cessation may cause signs and symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, intense dreaming, parenthesis, increased sensitivity to light and sounds, and grand mal seizures. From the pharmacological profile of flunitrazepam, withdrawal intensity from flunitrazepam alone would be expected to peak three to five days after cessation of use.64 A patient who is physically dependent but taking only flunitrazepam could be withdrawn using Phenobarbital.65
Its important to teach your teen to be cautious without being paranoid.66 Dont attend parties or other events alone.67 Always let a friend or someone else know where you are 68 [and] whom you are with.69 Be careful whom you accept opened food or drink from. Seek out an unopened package or can, or watch someone when they pour you a drink. Remember that punch type drinks are very easy to spike.70 Avoid…situations…such as being left in a room alone with strangers or going somewhere alone with someone.71 You might want to review some basic rape prevention techniques.72 Be assertive; dont be intimidated into anything. Have confidence to say no and mean it.73
Children, and girls especially, are taught to fear sex crimes. They are told never to accept rides with strange men or to take candy from them. Yet the exact nature of the potential danger remains unknown and so the girl may build up an exceedingly great dread of a mysterious crime, perhaps thinking that it would be the worst thing that could happen to her. Thus, when she is attacked, she may be absolutely immobilized with fear. She freezes and is unable to wage an effective counterattack.74
Make her drink a Mickey Finn.
Methaqualone, sold under the brand names Quaalude and Sopor, is a depressant similar in effect to barbiturates.
1 Mike Wallace, Mickey Mouse History and Other Essays on American Memory (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996), p. 133.
3 Op. cit.
5 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
6 Lindenbaum, Parenting, p. D2.
9 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
10 David E. Smith, M.D., Donald R. Wesson, M.D., & Sarah R. Calhoun, M.P.H., Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) fact sheet, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, Inc., 1997.
14 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
15 Across the Nation, 15 June 1996, p. A2.
16 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
17 Powerful sedative from Colombia, p. A8.
18 Jackson, U.S. forbids imports of seductive sedative, p. A8.
20 Jackson, U.S. forbids imports of seductive sedative, p. A8.
21 Lindenbaum, Parenting, p. D2.
22 Across the Nation, 15 June 1996, p. A2.
23 Op. cit.
24 Lindenbaum, Parenting, p. D2.
25 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
26 Op. cit.
27 Jackson, U.S. forbids imports of seductive sedative, p. A8.
28 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
30 Op. cit.
33 Op. cit.
34 Jackson, U.S. forbids imports of seductive sedative, p. A8.
35 Across the Nation, 27 June 1996, p. A6.
36 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
38 Op. cit.
39 Kidwell & Piloto, Dime-sized, p. A3.
40 Lindenbaum, Parenting, p. D2.
41 Op. cit.
42 Powerful sedative from Colombia, p. A8.
43 Jackson, U.S. forbids imports of seductive sedative, p. A8.
44 Powerful sedative from Colombia, p. A8.
45 Across the Nation, 27 June 1996, p. A6.
46 Op. cit.
47 Op. cit.
49 Bill penalizes use of drugs.
50 Op. cit.
51 Staffer says security chief, p. A7.
52 Op. cit.
53 Op. cit.
55 Smith, Wesson & Calhoun, Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) fact sheet.
56 Powerful sedative from Colombia, p. A8.
57 Across the Nation, 5 March 1996, p. A4.
58 Jackson, U.S. forbids imports of seductive sedative, p. A8.
60 Powerful sedative from Colombia, p. A8.
61 Across the Nation, 15 June 1996, p. A2.
62 Smith, Wesson & Calhoun, Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) fact sheet.
63 Op. cit.
64 Op. cit.
65 Op. cit.
66 Lindenbaum, Parenting, p. D2.
67 Op. cit.
68 Op. cit.
69 Op. cit.
70 Op. cit.
71 Op. cit.
72 Op. cit.
73 Op. cit.
See alsoOriginal Chloral Hydrate knockout drops (search)
Sodium Pentahol (brand name Thiopental Sodium 8, aka Sodium P.; a CIA truth-serum)
GHB (Gamma hydroxy butyrate)
Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride)
CIA Mind Control