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Club Drugs: Rohypnol, the "Date Rape" Drug

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
 
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Club Drugs: Rohypnol, the "Date Rape" Drug

Rohypnol is a popular club drugs used by today's youth. It is know as the "date rape" drug because of its sedative-hypnotic effects. Rohypnol can incapacitate a victim and prevent her or him from resisting sexual assault. Although it is prescribed in several countries for treatment of insomnia and as sedation before surgery, Rohypnol is illegal in the United States.

What Is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol, the trade name for flunitrazepam, is a member of the benzodiazepine family, which includes Valium, Halcyon, Xanax, and Versed. These drugs are known for their sedative effects. On the street, Rohypnol is called roofies, rophies, roach, rope, and the forget-me pill. Rohypnol is a pill that can be easily crushed and dissolved in liquid. It is tasteless and odorless, and can therefore be slipped into people's drinks without their knowledge.

Rohypnol is believed to be ten times more potent than Valium. A single dose of Rohypnol, as small as 1 milligram (mg), can produce effects within 15-20 minutes that last for 8-12 hours after ingestion. Some young people use Rohypnol to enhance the highs produced by heroin, as well as to ease the negative effects of a crack or cocaine binge. Similar to using alcohol, many young adults may drive while under the influence of Rohypnol; an extremely dangerous practice.

What Are the Effects of Rohypnol?

The effects of Rohypnol include:

  • Feelings of intoxication
  • Muscle relaxation, causing difficulty walking and slurred speech
  • Sleepiness
  • Anterograde amnesia, which means people are unable to remember what happened while under the drug's effects
  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Urinary retention
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Nightmares
  • Trembling or shaking

Although classified as a depressant, Rohypnol can induce aggression and/or excitability. Rohypnol can also lead to physical and psychological dependence. As a result, chronic users can experience withdrawal effects and seizures. When used in combination with alcohol and other depressants, Rohypnol can be fatal.

Resources

Club Drugs.org
http://www.clubdrugs.org

Partnership for a Drug-Free America
http://www.drugfreeamerica.org/

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
http://www.samhsa.gov/

National Institute on Drug Abuse
http://www.drugabuse.gov/

Sources

Rohypnol. Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Policy Information Clearinghouse.
Available at: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/factsht/
Accessed September 19, 2003.

Rohypnol and GHB. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Available at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofax/RohypnolGHB.html
Accessed September 19, 2003.



Last reviewed September 2003 by Richard Glickman-Simon, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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