Rohypnol Addiction and Abuse

Rohypnol is a potent benzodiazepine that has the capacity to form physical dependence and addiction.

Flunitrazepam - Addiction | Table of Contents

What is Rohypnol? 

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) belongs to the class of benzodiazepines, with properties that are similar to other central nervous system depressants such as Valium. Rohypnol is extensively used across Europe and South America for the short-term treatment of sleep disorders and insomnia. It is odorless, tasteless, and easily dissolvable in liquid and is generally swallowed, crushed and snorted or injected or dissolved into a liquid prior to drinking.

Some of the common names of Rohypnol are:

  • Roofies
  • Forget-me drug
  • Date rape drug
  • Roche
  • Ruffles

As Rohypnol is a powerful tranquilizer that can render someone unconscious within minutes, it is increasingly used to commit sexual assaults. In response to this, the manufacturer reformed the tablets in an attempt to prevent further abuse. The drug is now available as green tablets with a dye that turns blue when dissolved, making it more detectable in certain liquids. Nevertheless, the original white tablets are still in circulation and sold illegally.

Rohypnol is legal for manufacture and purchase in about 60 countries around the world, but it is neither legal for manufacture or purchase in the U.S. Although Rohypnol is categorized as a Schedule IV narcotic in the U.S., the penalties for possessing, trafficking, and distributing it are akin to those of Schedule I. Possessing the drug is regarded as a third-degree misdemeanor, while selling it is considered as a fourth-degree felony. Nevertheless, many individuals in the U.S. have been using Rohypnol illegally since the 1990s, mainly to mitigate the depression that arises due to using stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Teenagers and young adults are the primary users of Rohypnol, and the majority of them are male. As such, the drug is quite popular in high schools, college campuses, raves, and clubs.

FAQ

How does Rohypnol interact with other drugs?

Being a central nervous system depressant when combined with other sedative-hypnotics, Rohypnol can have complicated sedative effects. When Rohypno interacts with a depressant like alcohol, it can lead to severe sedation, blackouts, loss of consciousness, and even respiratory depression. There is a risk of coma, overdose, or death if Rohypnol is mixed with other CNS depressants such as club drugs, alcohol and ketamine.

Can you overdose on Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is more potent compared to other benzos such as Valium and has a high risk of overdose. When Rohypnol is consumed for nonmedical reasons, there is a high risk of experiencing an overdose.

What forms does Rohypnol come in?

Rohypnol primarily comes in the form of an olive green pill with blue speckles at its core. It used to be a white tablet, but due to it being used as a date rape drug, these changes have been made so the blue interior can dye the light-colored drinks blue. Generic versions of the drug may not incorporate this precaution.

Common Side Effects of Rohypnol 

Rohypnol enters the bloodstream quickly, causing the users to feel its effects in as little as 15 to 20 minutes after ingestion. The effects usually peak within 45 minutes to 2 hours and last for 12 or more hours. Rohypnol use induces extreme sedation and a state of intoxication where the user does not care what they do, nor can they avoid what happens to them.

Some of the other adverse effects of Rohypnol are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Amnesia
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired motor functioning
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Confusion
  • Stomach disturbances
  • Excitability
  • Blackouts up to 24 hours
  • Lack of inhibitions
  • Headache
  • Aggression
  • Relaxation or calmness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Respiratory depression
  • Memory loss
  • Poor decision making
  • Low heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Overdose
  • Coma
  • Death

Although Rohypnol is classed as a central nervous system depressant, it can induce aggression or excitability in certain individuals. Rohypnol users who inject the drug are also prone to risks that are associated with needle sharing and intravenous administration, such as contracting hepatitis or HIV.

FAQ

What harm does Rohypnol do to the body?

Rohypnol alone or with combination with other drugs can lead to serious physical effects such as; respiratory depression, low blood pressure, sedation, headaches, loss of physical coordination, cardiovascular collapse, coma, or even death. It is also possible to get addicted or develop tolerance to Rohypnol, which in turn can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as extreme anxiety, seizures, and hallucinations.

What are the comedown effects of Rohypnol?

When the Rohypnol high wears out, people begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, which are referred to as “comedown effects.” These effects include; muscle pain, restlessness, headache, tension, photosensitivity, irritability, seizures, confusion, numbness, and hallucinations.

Rohypnol Addiction 

Frequent use of Rohypnol, either for a health condition or recreational use, will result in tolerance, implying that the user will have to take increasingly large doses of the drug to attain the desired effects. Chronic use of Rohypnol will then lead to physical dependence and addiction. Individuals with a physical dependence on Rohypnol may undergo withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing or reducing drug use abruptly.

Withdrawal symptoms of Rohypnol may range from mild to severe and include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Tension
  • Numbness
  • Delirium
  • Shock
  • Insomnia
  • Convulsions

Certain individuals with an addiction to Rohypnol may combine the drug with other substances such as alcohol or cocaine to enhance its effects. Nevertheless, mixing sedatives such as Rohypnol with alcohol can be extremely deadly as they are both central nervous system depressants that can slow down breathing and heart rate to fatal levels. At high doses of both substances, the body may also shut down, resulting in respiratory distress.

Rohypnol Abuse and Sexual Assault 

Rohypnol, also popular as the “date-rape drug,” is being alarmingly used throughout the U.S. to commit sexual assaults as it can easily sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims. Since the drug also comes in an undetectable formulation, the attacker can simply slip Rohypnol into the victim’s drink and wait until he/she drifts into oblivion or is physically incapacitated. Rape cases associated with Rohypnol are quite difficult to prosecute, as the victims who were under the drug’s influence at the time of the assault may not clearly recall the assailant or the events surrounding the assault. In addition, as Rohypnol clears from the system within 72 hours, victims are also left with very little evidence to take to the authorities.

Sexual assaults of this nature are shockingly common on college campuses, mainly due to the exposure to drugs and alcohol. A recent study found that around 15 percent of female college students experienced incapacitated rape during their first year of college. Another similar study has revealed that 1 in 13 American college students reported being drugged or suspect of being drugged. Of these victims, around 79 percent were female. It was further reported that Rohypnol was used 32 percent of times on such victims.

Rohypnol Statistics

  • According to a survey, about 1 in 3 collegiate men admitted that they would use Rohypnol to commit date rapes if it can be guaranteed that they would not be caught afterward.
  • Rohypnol is ten times more powerful than Valium.
  • According to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, almost 2 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. confessed to using Rohypnol at least once in the previous year.
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