Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) is an intermediate acting nitro-benzodiazepine and is used medically as a sedative, hypnotic, skeletal muscle relaxant, and as an anticonvulsant. Commonly known as “roofies”. Some other benzodiazepines are: Diazepam, Alprazolam, Clonazepam and Lorazepam. Rohypnol is notoriously used as a recreational drug. Rohypnol is also known as the “date rape” drug.
Rohypnol has properties similar to Valium and its sedative effects are about 7 to 10 times stronger as compared to Valium. The effects typically appear after 15 to 20 minutes and the effects last for 5 to 6 hours on an average. Some of the effects may last up to 12 hours in some people. The drug is a nitrazepam derivative and its sedative effects are so strong that it is usually administered on people suffering from insomnia. The drug can also cause partial amnesia.
Like most sedatives, the drug enhances GABA at the GABA(A) receptor, thereby causing sedation and muscle relaxation. The drug has a comparatively longer half-life, resulting in next-day impairments and sedation of patients in some cases. The drug also lowers the “delta wave” activity, which is an indicator of the “depth” of sleep. An inverse relation exists between the delta wave activity and the depth of sleep a person experiences. This deepness of sleep and the amnesiac effects are why Rohypnol is sometimes used for sexual assault and mugging.
Side Effects of Rohypnol
- Impaired vision
- Impaired speech
- Sleep-induced death
- Violent behavior
- Respiratory depression
- Gastric imbalances
Rohypnol Do’s and Don’ts
Individuals should only use Rohypnol prescribed by a physician. Individuals should drive carefully after the drug has been administered. It can have residual effects on your brain for up to 24 hours after administration.
Individuals should be careful with climbing stairs and doing physical activity as slippage accidents are common in patients who had been administered Rohypnol.
Do not consume Rohypnol with alcohol- this may increase the sedative effects and cause seizures.
Do not use it with other substances. Some addicts abuse Rohypnol by coupling it with other substances because it “boosts the high”. However, this can lead to serious psycho-kinetic impairments including slurred speech and difficulty in walking. Extreme cases can cause sleep death.
The drug may cause allergies to people already susceptible to benzodiazepine induced allergies including breathing problems in people suffering from asthma.
Addiction and Overdose
Rohypnol is one of the most abused medical drugs in the market today. It acts as a strong sedative and is used directly or administered indirectly to others. It has been notoriously used for carrying out sexual assault by mixing the drug in the victims’ drinks. The victims don’t usually remember the exact events of the assault because of deep amnesia and slumber caused due to the drug and therefore, the legal proceedings can take a hit due to lack of evidence and information.
The drug is addictive in nature and can have acute withdrawal symptoms. People under stress and suffering from insomnia are most susceptible to abusing this drug. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Thoughts of suicide
Overdose of Rohypnol can cause acute muscular malfunction. Motor-sensory movements can go for a toss and the person can go into deep sleep. In some extreme cases, the sleep is so deep that it can lead to coma or even death. If a person is suffering from a Rohypnol overdose, call medical help immediately.
Like common derivatives of nitrazepam, Rohypnol overdose can be treated at a rehabilitation facility. In the course of treatment for overdose/addiction, the patient may have suffered from withdrawal symptoms and he/she needs to be under medical supervision for a couple of days. Treatment can leave the patient dizzy for a few days. Do not let the patient drive or undertake heavy physical activities immediately after being treated for Rohypnol abuse.