Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Roofies" Becoming a Bigger Concern in Baton Rouge

The LSU community has recently seen an unusually high number of students reporting that they may have received a ‘roofie’ at local Baton Rouge establishments. Be aware of what you can do to protect yourself...

What do Roofies do?

Roofies (hypnotic sedative type drugs) cause sedation, a feeling of extreme intoxication, and amnesia. The liquid (usually GHB) or powdered pills (Rohypnol, Lortab, Vicodin) are dropped into your drink usually by someone who wants to take sexual advantage of you. About 10 minutes after ingestion, you'll start to feel very drunk-like and have difficulty speaking or moving as well as the inability to remember anything; eventually, you may pass out.

The drug's amnesiac effect lasts anywhere from six to eight hours; even if you are not passed out, you'll have no memory of anything that occurred while you were under the drug's influence, nor will you be able to defend yourself. Besides making you vulnerable to sexual assault, roofies can also cause nausea, seizures, coma, liver failure, and even death from respiratory depression.

How Can I Protect Myself?
  • Roofies may cause an unusual salty/bitter taste when dissolved in any beverage; be alert to a strange taste in your drink. Small amounts may be undetectable in an alcoholic beverage.

  • When placed in a light-colored drink, Rohypnol will turn the beverage bright blue. If your water origin and tonic turns blue, bring it to the LSU Police Department for testing and become especially alert; someone has tried to drug you. GHB, lortab and vicodin, as well as other sedative hypnotics won't change the color of your drink.

  • If you suddenly feel unusually drunk after just a small amount of alcohol, quickly ask for help - you might have just a few minutes of alert behavior left to you.

  • Don't drink anything you did not open yourself or that you didn't see being opened or poured.

  • Don't accept a drink from someone you don't know unless you see it being opened or poured by a bartender. A note of caution – bartenders may be one of the people involved in dispensing the drug.

  • Always watch your drink at parties and bars. If you leave your drink unattended, get a fresh one to be on the safe side. Taking a beverage from open containers, (i.e. a bowl) is extremely high risk.

  • Have a friend drive to and from a party or bar with you to lessen your chances of being taken advantage of.

  • Take care of your friends. If they seem disproportionately drunk, suddenly amorous, and "out of it," they may have been slipped a drug. Don't leave them alone.

(Some of these tips are reprinted with permission from Iona College.)

What Should I Do if I Suspect I've Been Sexually Assaulted?

  • If you suspect that you have been sexually assaulted, do not shower, douche or otherwise destroy potential evidence.
  • Seek medical attention at the Student Health Center (during regular hours of operation) or the hospital as soon as possible; evidence can be collected should you decide to so that you will have evidence of the assault.
  • Seek assistance to help you through this traumatic event:
  1. Contact a Sexual Assault Victims Advocate (SAVA) (www.lsu.edu/shc/225-578-5718 <http://www.lsu.edu/shc/225-578-5718> ),

  2. Contact the LSU Mental Health Service, 578-8774, during regular hours of operation.

  3. You can also contact the Rape Crisis Center, 225-383-7273 (24 hour),

  4. or The PHONE, a 24 hour crisis line at 225-924-(LSU1)5781.

  5. You should inform friends you trust, and you should consider getting professional counseling.

If you choose to file a police report, contact LSUPD at 225-578-3231.

Information in this blog provided by:

Katie McGee Barras
Assistant Dean of Students & Associate Director of Student Advocacy and Accountability
Louisiana State University
115 Johnston Hall

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