Rohypnol is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine with general properties similar to those of Valium (diazepam). It is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia, as a pre-medication in surgical procedures and for inducing anesthesia.
Since the 1990s Rohypnol has been used illegally to lessen the depression caused by the abuse of stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and also as an aid for sexual assault. The so-called “date-rape drug” was placed unknowingly in the drinks of victims, often at a bar or party (“club drug”). Due to the strong amnesia produced by the drug, victims would have limited or no memory of the assault.
Rohypnol is no longer available legally in the United States. Rohypnol, previously available as a white tablet that dissolved without color, taste, or smell is now formulated as an oblong caplet that is light green with a blue core. The manufacturer instituted this change to help identify tampered drinks at clubs. When dissolved in clear liquids the blue core will turn the clear liquid to blue. However, when dissolved in darker-colored liquids, the blue dye may not be noticeable. Generic versions of Rohypnol may not contain the blue dye.
While Rohypnol has become widely known for its use as a date-rape drug, it is abused more frequently for other reasons. It is abused by high school students, college students, street gang members, rave party attendees, and heroin and cocaine abusers to produce profound intoxication, boost the high of heroin, modulate the effects of cocaine.Teenagers and young males age 13 to 30 have been noted as the primary abusers of Rohypnol.
Rohypnol is usually consumed orally, and is often combined with alcohol. Rohypnol use causes a number of adverse effects, which may last 12 hours of more, including:
- drowsiness, sleep
- loss of motor control
- decreased reaction time
- impaired judgement
- lack of coordination
- slurred speech
- agression or excitability
- loss of memory of events while under the influence (amnesia)
- stomach disturbances
- respiratory depression with higher doses.