“Roofies” merit SAC caution


Courtesy/Jake LaMontagne

Suspected “roofies” have been taking out Saint Anselm students

Thomas DeRoche, Medical Correspondent

It is easy to think that date rape culture does not exist on St. A’s campus and the fact that it does is an alarming and depressing reality. In recent weeks, there have been three suspected cases of Saint Anselm College students being “roofied.” Disclaimer: names in this article have been redacted for anonymity.

Rohypnol, or “roofies,” is a commonly used date rape drug that has sedative effects and causes memory loss. The effects of Rohypnol usually start within 30 minutes and peak two hours after taking it, but it can last up to 12 hours. The pill is tasteless and odorless, but will sometimes turn a clear drink blue when it is dissolved. Rohypnol effects often go unnoticed when someone is drinking alcohol because they resemble “blackout” symptoms.

This past weekend, one female student was roofied at an on-campus party when she left her drink to go to the bathroom. She said, “I felt like I was blacked out all of a sudden. It just went from zero to 100 instantly.” She said that she was lucky because nothing bad happened to her this time, but said, “It’s really scary and now I have to go into the week not knowing who did that to me and walking by people and thinking ‘it could have been anyone.’”

There was a prior incident this year where a female student, who does not drink alcohol, had her water roofied at a party in uppers. Her friends noticed that she was not acting right as she was exhibiting blackout symptoms but had not had any alcohol. 

Another student said, “I was roofied my first week on campus. [He] handed me a drink and I drank the whole thing and had to be dragged back to JOA. [He] followed me back to JOA but my friends wouldn’t let him in.” 

This is not just a problem on campus, however. There have been reported cases of roofieing at the downtown bars in Manchester. Bars and clubs are hotspots for roofieing as they are often dimly lit and crowded, making it easy for someone to slip a pill into someone else’s drink.

Some common symptoms of Rohypnol are disorientation, a sudden feeling of fogginess, excessive drunkenness (even if you have not had much to drink), and loss of muscle control. The first student described it as though “it felt like I was having a heart attack and I got really really hot.”

Ryan Ford, Assistant Director of Residential Life, said that Res Life was aware that students were being roofied off-campus, but was unaware of it happening on campus. Ford said, “If we see something, we report it.” Reporting any cases or symptoms can help college officials better understand the scope of the problem and take action against it. Maura Marshall, Director of Health Services, expressed her concern about addressing the roofieing problem before Halloween weekend, which, historically, has been a “high-risk weekend” for drinking.

There are ways for students to stay safe when they go out and avoid being roofied. Pour your own drinks; avoid open containers like punch bowls that could be spiked; do not accept drinks, especially from strangers; do not leave your drink unattended; and most importantly, stick with your friends. 

If you start to feel funny, immediately tell your friends and have them bring you back to your room or call 911. Look out for each other and help keep this campus safe.