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While the majority of survivors
are women, men can also be
victims. For the sake of
simplicity, we refer to the
victim/survivor as “she” and the
perpetrator/abuser as “he”
.
Sexual Assault Drugs

Rohypnol and GHB are strong sedatives often found at nightclubs and parties and are used by
individuals intent on perpetrating sexual assault. In many cases, a sexual offender may mix the
drug into the drink of an unsuspecting victim. Combining these drugs with alcohol increases
the drug’s effects, sometimes causing death.

It is important not to ask victim blaming questions, or make victim blaming statements, to
women who are survivors of drug facilitated sexual assault. “Why were you drinking?” “Did you
leave your drink unattended?” “I would never go to that bar, nightclub, etc”. Remember, sexual
offenders are most often men who appear to be trustworthy and charming. The offender is
counting on the fact that she does not expect him to sexually assault her.

What is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a strong sedative that is manufactured and distributed by Hoffman-
LaRoche. A member of the benzodiazepine family that includes drugs such drugs as Librium,
Xanax, and Valium. Rohypnol is about ten times the strength of Valium. Although Rohypnol is
used as a pre-surgical anesthetic or for the treatment of insomnia in many countries, the drug
has never been approved for medical use in the United States because other safer drugs are
available. Typically, Rohypnol is smuggled into Texas from Mexican pharmacies; supplies in
Florida often come from Latin America. Street prices in Texas range from $1 to $5 per pill.
Slang terms for Rohypnol include Roach, Roche (ro-shay), Roofies, Run-Trip-and-Fall, R-2,
Mexican Valium, Ropynol, Rib, and Rope. In South Texas, to be under the influence of
Rohypnol is “to get roached.”

The effects of Rohypnol appear 15 to 20 minutes after the administration and last
approximately four to six hours. Some residual effects can be found 12 hours or more after
administration. Rohypnol causes drowsiness, dizziness, loss of motor control, lack of
coordination, slurred speech, confusion, and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Rohypnol causes partial amnesia; individuals are unable to remember certain events that they
experienced while under the influence of the drug. This effect is particularly dangerous when
rohypnol is used to aid in the commission of a sexual assault; victims may not be able to
clearly recall the assault, the assailant, or events surrounding the assault.

What is GHB?

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) was once sold in health food stores as a performance-
enhancing additive to body builder formulas. Although it is rumored that GHB stimulates
muscle growth, this claim has never been proven. GHB is a central nervous system
depressant that is abused for its intoxicating effects. GHB can produce drowsiness, dizziness,
nausea, unconsciousness, seizures, severe respiratory depression, and coma. In 1990, the
FDA banned the use of GHB except under the supervision of a physician because of many
reports of severe, uncontrollable side effects.

Why are Rohypnol and GHB called “sexual assault related” drugs?

Rohypnol and GHB have been called “sexual assault related” drugs because of their potential
to cause blackouts and amnesia at high doses. In the past decade, cases of sexual assault
and rape by gangs of men where victims were sedated by Rohypnol or GHB have been
reported. The drugs have been reportedly used at gang initiation rites. In response to the
abuse of Rohypnol and GHB, the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996
was enacted into federal law. This law makes it a crime to give someone a controlled
substance without a person’s knowledge and with intent to commit a violent crime. The law
also stiffens the penalties for the possession and distribution of Rohypnol and GHB.
EST. 2007