Drugs Information, what you really should know about, drugs facts on and facts about Rohypnol and date rape drugs

A Guide for worried parents, teenagers who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs and anyone who wants to know more about the subject.

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Rohypnol (pronounced row-hip-nole) is Hoffman-LaRoche's registered trade name for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine agonist which is illegal in the U.S. Rohypnol is a tranquilizer like Valium, yet is 10 times more potent. In other countries Rohypnol is used to treat severe sleep disorders and serious psychiatric disorders. Rohypnol is known as the "date-rape drug" because of its disinhibiting effect, especially when combined with even a moderate amount of alcohol. It is often added to young people's drinks without their knowledge at dance clubs, bars or parties Rohypnol use by youths of all socioeconomic status has been reported. The inexpensive cost, ranging from 3 to 5 per pill, attracts young users. Students report use of the drug as a cheap drunk and as a cure for alcohol hangovers.

Common street names:
rophies, roofies, ruffies, R2, roofenol, roche and roachies.

rohypnol

How they are taken:
Rohypnol is used along with alcohol and other drugs. It has also been reported to be used in combination with marijuana and cocaine, as well as heroin. Rohypnol use appears to be spreading in the United States among high school and college youth. In some areas, it is associated with gangs, and it is becoming known as a club drug.

Effects:
Slowing of psychomotor performance, sedation, amnesia, muscle relaxation, restlessness, agitation and aggressiveness. The drug produces sedative effects, including amnesia, muscle relaxation, and the slowing of psychomotor performance. Sedation occurs 20 to 30 minutes after administration of a 2-mg tablet and lats for approximately 8 hours. Psychomotor impairment is greatly increased when taken with alcohol. Nitrous oxide, fentanyl, and ketamine will increase the effect of rohypnol.

Risks:
The use of Rohypnol itself is dangerous, leading to physical and psychological dependence, which increases with dose and duration of use. However, there are other dangers linked to the use of this substance. Rohypnol is typically sold in its original bubble packaging, conveying a sense of legality and security in its use. The perceived safety of the drug along with the trend of use in combination with other substances, creates the possibility of Rohypnol becoming a gateway to harder drugs.

warning

Date rape:
When mixed with any liquid, including sodas, water or alcohol, the tablet dissolves instantly, with no taste. It is colorless and odorless, and is virtually undetectable after dissolving. Upon consumption, the drug takes effect within 20 - 30 minutes.
It seems to have a synergistic effect when used in conjunction with alcohol. This combination produces disinhibition and amnesia. Because of the side effect of blackouts, Rohypnol has been used by rapists and in date rape situations. Rohypnol has no smell or taste when mixed in a drink, making it extremely easy for a woman to be put in a dangerous situation. And because the drug clouds your memory, such cases are hard to prosecute since the victims rarely remember any details of the crime.

Physical effects:
drowsiness headaches memory impairment dizziness
ataxia nightmares phychomotor impairment

Important:
Lethal overdose is unlikely; however, continued use will result in physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms range from headache, muscle pain, and confusion to hallucinations and convulsions. Seizures may occur a week or more after cessation of use. Thus, medically supervised detoxification using diminishing doses of other denzodiazepines is essential.

As a final note with the acceptance of the fact that Rohypnol dissolves easily in beverages, leaving little taste.To prevent this scenario from happening, Hoffmann-La Roche is now looking at introducing taste or color into the drug and creating a tablet that would dissolve more slowly in liquid. Those changes would give people a better chance of detecting Rohypnol if it were covertly slipped in their drink.


For information about other drugs, return to Drug Information Page.