Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a habit-forming benzodiazepine that is infamously known as the “date-rape drug”. Because this benzodiazepine has been commonly used to sexually assault people, the U.S. banned Rohypnol. However, people continue to obtain this drug illegally and even use it recreationally.
Rohypnol is a powerful sedative that is able to make someone go unconscious within minutes. This drug is taken orally, crushed and snorted or injected, and dissolved into a liquid prior to drinking. Because of reports of this drug being used to perform sexual assaults, the manufacturer reformulated the tablets in order to prevent abuse. Rohypnol is now available in a green tablet that includes a dye, so if someone attempts to dissolve it in a drink, the drink will be dyed with a blue color. However, unfortunately, the original white tablets are still available and sold illegally.
What is Rohypnol?
Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine that was first created in 1975 for the treatment of sleep disorders and was used as anesthesia for surgeries. When the drug is dissolved in liquid, it is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. As a result, Rohypnol became one of the most common substances used as a date-rape drug.
Because of Rohypnol’s reputation as a date-rape drug, Rohypnol is illegal in the United States. While Rohypnol is technically a Schedule IV benzodiazepine, the penalties for possessing this drug are similar to that of Schedule I drugs like heroin. Additionally, most people know Rohypnol by its street name, “roofies”.
However, there are many other street names for Rohypnol such as:
- Lunch money drug
- La Rocha
- Mexican Valium
Effects of Rohypnol
Rohypnol is intended to temporarily tranquilize the user. This was especially helpful during surgeries or for patients with severe insomnia. Additionally, the effect produced is similar to Valium. However, Rohypnol is ten times stronger. In fact, one 2-milligram pill of Rohypnol has the same potency as a 6-pack of beer. Rohypnol enters the bloodstream quickly, so much so that users typically feel the effects within 15-20 minutes after injection. If the user becomes sedated, this can last for up to 12 hours. The peak effect of Rohypnol can take effect between 45 minutes to 2 hours.
Users experience a variety of effects including extreme sedation, dizziness, and loss of bodily control. One of the most dangerous aspects of Rohypnol is that it causes the user to experience a state of intoxication where they do not care about their actions, or what is being done to them. Additionally, users also have an extremely hard time remembering what happened to them while they were on the drug.
The common effects of Rohypnol include:
- Impaired motor functioning
- Muscle relaxation
- Impaired judgment
- Slurred speech
- Visual disturbances
- Memory loss
However, when Rohypnol is taken in higher doses or mixed with alcohol, the side effects will increase in severity. In fact, when someone takes too much of this drug they can experience the following:
- Loss of muscle control
- Anterograde and retrograde amnesia
- Lowered inhibitions
- Blackouts up to 24 hours
- Falling unconscious
Recreational Rohypnol Abuse
While many people associate Rohypnol solely as a date-rape drug, many people abuse this drug recreationally. Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine, which is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. When used recreationally, this drug produces similar effects as alcohol and is extremely addictive. Additionally, many people who abuse Rohypnol mix it with alcohol. Mixing drugs can become extremely dangerous as it increases the severity of each substance’s side-effects.
When people abuse Rohypnol frequently, they will build a tolerance to the drug. As a result, they will have to increase the amount of the substance they use in order to achieve the desired effect. Developing tolerance of any substance poses a great threat to one’s health. Additionally, building tolerance is one of the first signs of an individual becoming dependant on a substance. Without proper intervention, it is likely for the user to become addicted soon after they become dependant on Rohypnol.
Since Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine, it is extremely addictive. Being ten times stronger than valium, individuals who abuse Rohypnol may develop an addiction quickly. Additionally, many users who mix Rohypnol with alcohol are more prone to developing an addiction. When you become used to mixing different substances, it also becomes harder for your body to function without them. An individual’s inability to cope without a substance after long-term use is known as experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Rohypnol addiction, in particular, has similar withdrawal symptoms as alcohol.
Withdrawal symptoms associated with Rohypnol addiction include:
- Muscle pains
- Loss of identity
- Seizures or convulsions
If someone takes too much Rohypnol, just like any other substance, an overdose is possible and likely. Like any benzodiazepine, if someone takes too much Rohypnol their body can go into respiratory depression. While this may not result in death, respiratory depression may cause permanent damage to the brain within minutes.
Treatment for Rohypnol Addiction
If you or a loved one are addicted to Rohypnol, it is vital that you seek out professional addiction treatment. Addiction to Rohypnol can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that require professional medical treatment. With the help of dedicated addiction professionals and therapists who understand addiction, long-term recovery is possible. If you or a loved one is in need of medically professional addiction treatment, call us today!