This Week in Villanova History

Date-rape drug appears on campus

By Claire Rehwinkel

The University’s Center for Drug and Alcohol assistance has recently reported several instances of sexual assault due to Rohypnol poisoning at Villanova. Rohypnol is a powerful sleeping pill otherwise known as the “date-rape drug.”

The Center’s director, Jan Janosik, said, “We are concerned because we believe that students have been given the drug in party situations.” Rohypnol is a tranquilizer 10 times more potent than Valium. It causes temporary amnesia, impaired motor skills and muscle relaxation. Oftentimes, Rohypnol is given to females with intent of sexual assault. Rohypnol’s effects are so intoxicating that victims frequently have no say or recollection in what happens to them, Janosik said.

Roofers, roofs, rupees and rochies are all street names for Rohypnol. “The drug was first reported five or six years ago at the University of Florida where the drug was administered to females who were later taken advantage of,” said Janosik. “The drug is relatively inexpensive. It usually sells from $3-5 a pill,” she added. The drug is imported from Mexico.

Rohypnol is tasteless, odorless and comes in the form of a pill or in powder. “It can be placed in the victim’s food or drink without them even knowing it,” said Janosik. Sedation occurs 20-30 minutes after ingestion and the effects last anywhere from six to eight hours. Rohypnol intensifies any effects of alcohol or drugs in the victim’s system, said Janosik.

“For years people have warned against setting your drinks down at a party,” said Janosik, recalling warnings against LSD and other hallucinogens. “The scary thing about Rohypnol is that it can be placed in food as well as in drinks,” she added.

“We don’t want to scare people,” said Janosik. “We just want to caution people that it [Rohypnol] is out there,” she added. “It is rare if less than two or three incidents of sexual assault are reported each year [at Villanova]. Rohypnol just makes the problem a whole lot worse,” said Janosik.