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Rohypnol Effects

Rohypnol (the trade name for flunitrazepam), is a benzodiazepine (tranquilizer) similar to Valium but Rohypnol effects are approximately 10 times more potent. Although the drug is classified as a depressant, Rohypnol effects 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 into 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. Recent seizures indicate that a significant amount of the drug is smuggled and distributed by the Israelis and Russian drug traffickers. Illicit use of Rohypnol originated in Europe in the 1970s and has increased worldwide since then. However, Rohypnol addiction did not appear in the United States until the early 1990s.

Rohypnol effects often cause this drug to be abused. When abused, users are looking for Rohypnol effects such as: intoxication, sedations, its 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 anaesthetize victims. It is added to their food or drink with little possibility of detection. The drug has a long half-life of approximately 18-26 hours, which means after a nighttime administration Rohypnol 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 effects are 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 provide for stiff prison terms for the possession of Rohypnol. Penalties for use or distribution include life in prison should death or serious injury result.

Warning Signs of Rohypnol Effects:

  • Appear intoxicated (slurred speech, poor coordination, swaying, and blood-shot eyes) but have no odor of alcohol
  • Experience personality changes, poor judgment, and loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Behave evasively or lie about activities or whereabouts

Both short and long term use can lead to physical dependence on Rohypnol. The addictive features are more pronounced in individuals who use Rohypnol in large doses for a long time. Long-term use of this medication can result in psychological and physical dependence and the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued.

Rohypnol effects are 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 effects can cause withdrawal symptoms which may include hallucinations, delirium, convulsions, shock, derealization, and cardiovascular distress. As with benzodiazapines, withdrawal from Rohypnol should be undertaken gradually and with medical supervision. Symptoms may last a week or longer.

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