What Is Rohypnol?
Rohypnol is the brand name of the generic schedule IV controlled substance flunitrazepam. Rohypnol uses include providing relief from insomnia and as a pre-anesthetic. However, this immediate-acting drug has potent tranquilizing effects similar to other benzodiazepines but is almost 10 times more powerful than Valium.
Usually taken as a whole, the pill can also be crushed into a powder and snorted, dissolved in drinks, injected, or sprinkled on food items. The generic versions of the drug are white, while the name brands are available as olive-green pills with a blue core.
Since it produces no color or odor when mixed in drinks, it goes undetected. Due to the paralyzing nature of the Rohypnol mechanism of action, the drug has earned the notorious name of being a “date-rape” drug. There have been many instances where people used the drug to commit sexual assaults on their victims as it makes the users collapse and renders them incapable of resisting any advances. Users are also at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and diseases like HIV.
Rohypnol effects show up after around half an hour of ingestion, and the symptoms peak within 2 hours. The effects can linger up to even 12 hours, during which time the victims of this date-rape drug become incapacitated, unable to move, and cannot even recall what happened when they regain consciousness.
Effects Of Rohypnol On The Brain
The drug causes many effects on your brain, especially impacting the neurotransmitters called GABA receptors (gamma-aminobutyric acid), responsible for easing brain function and soothing it by aiding anxiety relief. It produces relaxation and sedation to further slow down brain function.
Moreover, the dopamine levels also get increased than usual with Rohypnol. When the GABA receptors’ functioning reduces, there will be a lower inhibition for dopamine production. Hence, you get a mixed feeling of warm, pleasurable sensations, and relaxing effects. For this reason, Rohypnol is also considered a club drug, taken recreationally. When users consume the drug to ease the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal or some other addictive substance’s effects, it can turn into Rohypnol addiction.
Street Names Of Rohypnol
- Mexican Valium
- Forget-me pill
- La Rocha
- Rochas Dos
There are two labels for Rohypnol, “club” and “date rape” drugs. Even though Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine, similar to drugs such as Valium and Xanax, it differs from them as Rohypnol is not a legal drug.
Although Rohypnol possession, trafficking, and distribution are made illegal in the U.S., it is sold in about 60 countries including Latin America and Europe, from where it is smuggled into the country.
In addition, the government put into effect an act in 1996 that helps prevent drug-induced rape. The culprits who use Rohypnol on victims of sexual assault face a more severe penalty. Besides, Rohypnol manufacturing, possession, and importation carries an increased punishment.
The original manufacturer of the drug also tried to curtail the chances of its abuse and sexual assaults from happening by making a green oval-shaped pill that when dissolved in a liquid, turns blue. However, generic versions smuggled into the U.S. lack this feature and may resemble a legal substance.
The most common way of consumption is to take Rohypnol and alcohol together or with other club drugs like ketamine and GHB in parties, bars, raves, concerts, and pubs to increase the intoxication effects. Abusers also snort Rohypnol with cocaine or inject it directly into the bloodstream by mixing with other stimulants.
Since Rohypnol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, combining it with other sedative-hypnotic drugs may lead to Rohypnol overdose. It results in coma and death when combined with other mind-altering medications, narcotics, alcohol, or benzos.
The drug is odorless, and hence, Rohypnol overdose symptoms can also be very late to detect. Effects of Rohypnol during pregnancy can be very dangerous, including causing hypotonia in the unborn baby, resulting in early muscle development.
Rohypnol Addiction Symptoms
Rohypnol users in the age group of 13-30 take it for recreational purposes. The combination of Rohypnol and alcohol creates disinhibition, which is the major draw for young people, who like to get the resulting relaxed and sleepy high that lasts for about 8-12 hours.
Sometimes it is a preferred way to deal with the intense comedown effects like irritability and anxiety of excessive cocaine and crack use, or to enhance the euphoria from heroin binging.
The drug enters the bloodstream directly, within a short span of 15-20 minutes after taking it, and the person who consumed it will feel the effects almost immediately. These psychological effects of Rohypnol may peak after 45 minutes, causing them to lose consciousness. Even as little as 2 milligrams of a pill can have the same intensity of Rohypnol hangover symptoms as they have when consuming a 6-pack of beer.
They feel extreme Rohypnol symptoms day after, ranging from amnesia to intoxication. They have trouble making out what happened the previous night and cannot account for their whereabouts.
Rohypnol Side Effects
- Loss of inhibitions
- Respiratory depression
- Extreme sedation
- Motor impairment
- Vision problems
- Difficulty in speaking
Long-term use of the drug also carries a higher risk of psychological and physical dependence as the users build a tolerance for it, making them crave for more, which eventually turns into Rohypnol addiction.
Dangers And Long Term Effects Of Rohypnol
Abusers of several months can have social effects of Rohypnol and potential negative reactions like:
Legal consequences: Since the drug is illegal in the country and regulated worldwide, you will face strict penalties if you are caught using or possessing it. For distributing it, there can be a life sentence.
Suicidal tendencies: Rohypnol can cause suicidal thoughts. Due to the high potency of the drug, it can become a great aid to those that wish to end their lives.
Paradoxical reactions: As with some drugs, people can experience the exact opposite reactions and stimuli than they anticipated from Rohypnol use. E.g., anxiety, depression, and convulsions.
Overdose: Small doses of Rohypnol can relax you but with larger amounts, an overdose may occur, leading to respiratory depression, coma, or even death.
Drug interactions: When you combine Rohypnol with alcohol, opiates, or other drugs, the toxic effects get multiplied, causing serious physical harm.