Most drug users who have Rohypnol addiction problems abuse additional substances including methamphetamine, alcohol, and heroin. This drug is frequently taken at raves, night clubs, all-night parties, bars, and has been widely used as a “date rape” drug. In the United States, Rohypnol is commonly used in Texas and Florida where it is popular among high school students. Recent reports indicate that Rohypnol addiction problems are rapidly growing among those who abuse it. Additionally, numerous seizures of illegal drugs have been made by the DEA. Street names for Rohypnol include roofies, roopies, rope, ropes, R2, or roaches.
Rohypnol (the trade name for flunitrazepam), is a benzodiazepine (tranquilizer) similar to Valium but approximately 10 times more potent. Although the drug is classified as a depressant, Rohypnol can cause paradoxical reactions in some individuals that may include excitability or aggressive behavior. It is a highly addictive drug. Rohypnol cannot legally be produced or sold in the United States but is available by prescription in Europe and Latin America. When prescribed in other countries it is primarily used to treat severe insomnia. This drug arrives in the United States illegally through smuggling operations and the US postal system. At this time, Rohypnol addiction is most common in South Florida, Texas, and Southern California.
The majority of Rohypnol in the United States has been smuggled in from Europe, South America, and Mexico.
Rohypnol is abused for its intoxicating, sedative, euphoria producing properties, or for its release of growth hormones, which can build muscles. Recently, it has been identified as a “date rape” drug used to anesthetize victims. It is added to their food or drinks with little possibility of detection. The drug has a long half-life of approximately 18-26 hours, which means after a nighttime administration the effects often last throughout the next day.
If an individual suspects that he or she has been a victim of a Rohypnol-facilitated sexual assault, laboratory testing for Rohypnol should be done as soon as possible. Recent technological advances can detect Rohypnol and related compounds in urine for up to 5 days after administration of a single dose of the drug and up to a month in hair.
In general, the common Rohypnol addict is a high school or college student. Rohypnol can be taken by mouth in a clear liquid, white powder, or capsule form. Here in the United States, each tablet typically costs between $2-$4. It is usually ingested with alcohol and frequently mixed with other drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. Individuals who take it with alcohol report a euphoric feeling and lightheadedness.
Rohypnol is currently under consideration to be rescheduled to Schedule I and is already considered such in the States of Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Most states have introduced legislation that provides for stiff prison terms for the possession of Rohypnol.
Warning Signs of Rohypnol Addiction:
- Appear intoxicated (slurred speech, poor coordination, swaying, 0and blood-shot eyes) but have no odor of alcohol
- Behave evasively or lie about activities or whereabouts
Rohypnol is frequently involved in drug intoxication and overdoses. For a person with a Rohypnol addiction, symptoms of an overdose would include respiratory depression, coma, impaired speech and balance, and possibly death. The risk of overdose increases when consuming alcohol, taking opiates or central nervous system depressants with Rohypnol.
When taken regularly, Rohypnol can cause withdrawal symptoms which may include hallucinations, delirium, convulsions, shock, derealization, and cardiovascular distress. As with benzodiazepines, withdrawal from Rohypnol should be undertaken gradually and with medical supervision. Symptoms may last a week or longer.