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Updated: May 18, 2022

What are Roofies and How To Avoid Being Roofied

We talk a lot about substance use disorder and how to avoid relapse. We discuss the dangers of willingly using one drug, only to discover it’s laced with another. But what about when you don’t intend to ingest a drug at all?

The term “roofies” is derived from the drug Rohypnol, but date rape drugs include GHB, Ketamine, and even alcohol. We think of this most often as being a problem that affects women, but it’s important to note that, while approximately twice as many women as men have reported drugging, it’s a problem that affects all sexes.

When we hear about someone getting roofied, the setting is usually a bar or college party, but it can happen in any public environment around people you don’t know—and sometimes around people you do. It might make going out seem scary, but if you follow the advice below, you can still go out, have a good time, and stay safe.

5 Tips to Avoid Being Roofied:

1.   Pour or buy your own drinks.

If you’re at a party or any place with self-serve beverages, make sure you are the one pouring your drinks—even if it’s soda! Don’t trust the dashing stranger who offers to save you the time and effort of getting your drink. If you’re at a bar or restaurant, the same rules apply. Don’t let a stranger buy your drink, and when you buy one, monitor the bartender while they pour it.

2.   Take your drink everywhere—and we mean everywhere.

Is it gross to take your drink into the bathroom with you? Will people give you funny looks? It doesn’t matter; do it. One University of Montana student went to use the restroom, thinking her friends would watch her drink, but they had moved to the bar when she returned. She went back to the table to get her drink and passed out cold after just a few sips.

3.   Drink with friends.

While drinking with people you trust may not prevent you from getting roofied, strength in numbers can keep the situation from escalating. If you’re with a group of friends, chances are they’ll get you home before someone else can.

4.   Cover your drink.

While talking to someone at the bar or your table, keep a hand over your cup. If you’re standing and chatting, hold the cup from the top. Use a drink cover. Whatever method you choose, keep it covered at all times!

5.   Know the signs of being roofied.

Confusion, memory loss, and feeling more drunk than you should are common signs of ingesting a date rape drug. You may lose consciousness, have difficulty speaking or walking, and experience nausea, vomiting, and a hangover that lasts longer than normal. In more serious cases, this class of drug can cause seizures and trouble breathing.

Being roofied can happen to anyone, and because many cases go unreported, it’s hard to say exactly how often it occurs. But if you stay diligent, stay informed, and go out with a trusted friend or two, you’ll be able to have a good time without having to worry about this type of traumatizing experience.


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