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Article Summary

A Guide To Rohypnol Addiction

Otherwise referred to as flunitrazepam, Rohypnol has been illegalized in the United States. However, since it is legal in other countries - where it is commonly prescribed as a sedative - you need to declare it while coming to the U.S.

Unfortunately, this does not stop the illegal smuggling of the drug across the border and into the country where it usually finds its way to America's youth in college and high schools.

The drug is commonly referred to by various street names. These include, but are not limited to Darkene, Flunipam, Fluscand, Hipnosedon, Hypnodorm, Ilman, Insom, Nilium, R2, Roaches, Rohypnol, Roofies, Roopies, Rope, Ropies, Silence, and Vulbegal. Others use Rohypnol as a date rape drug.

If you are addicted to Rohypnol, there is hope. However, treatment will only work after you accept your addiction and check into a rehabilitation facility. Read on to learn more about Rohypnol and its potential for addiction.

Understanding Rohypnol

Rohypnol is a brand name drug that is also referred to by the generic name Flunitrazepam. This fast-acting sedative is commonly prescribed in other countries - including Mexico - for the treatment of insomnia.

In the US, Rohypnol is commonly known as a date rape drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a benzodiazepine and CNS (central nervous system) depressant.

Like other benzodiazepines, Rohypnol causes relaxation and sedation. However, it is even more potent (7 to 10 times) than other benzodiazepines like Valium. As a direct result, it has been illegalized in the US.

The DEA further classifies different drugs into 5 schedules based on 3 main qualifiers, including addictive qualities, the likelihood of abuse, and accepted medical use. According to this classification, Rohypnol is a Schedule IV substance (alongside other benzodiazepines) although it is illegal in the country.

Due to its classification as a controlled substance, it follows that the US government discerns that Rohypnol meets the criteria listed below:

  • Low potential for use and abuse with regards to other substances and drugs in Schedule III
  • Currently accepted for medical use and treatments in the country
  • Potential for limited physical or psychological dependence relative to Schedule III drugs and substances

As a result of the potential for this drug to be used as a tool for victimization and assault, it also comes with the same potential for penalties standard with other Schedule I substances like heroin and cocaine.

More specifically, the DOJ (Department of Justice) prosecutes the distribution, trafficking, and possession of Rohypnol with penalties similar to those associated with such Schedule I drugs and substances like heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and Ecstasy. The DOJ further states that teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 30 are the primary users and abusers of this drug.

Rohypnol Uses

In the U.S., the production and use of Rohypnol are illegal. However, other countries have legalized it for the treatment of pain and as an anesthesia. Still, this drug is quite addictive and carries the risk of an overdose - the signs of which are similar to other benzodiazepines.

Today, the Rohypnol is sometimes used as a club drug in the party scene. This is because, apart from the effects typical of any benzodiazepine, this substance also has the potential to cause partial amnesia. When you ingest it, therefore, you might forget what happened while you were under its influence.

Due to this side effect, the substance is mainly used in the U.S. as a tool of assault because it relaxes the victim and causes them to forget the events that happened while they were under its influence.

On the other hand, some people use it recreationally because it is a sedative that causes euphoria. Examples of the effects it causes include:

  • Intoxication
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Decreased anxiety

The drug comes in the form of a tablet for oral consumption. Some users, however, crush Rohypnol to create powder and either snort or dissolve it into a solution for intravenous administration. Others sprinkle the powder on marijuana for a heightened high after smoking the combination.

Since Rohypnol is typically inexpensive (costs range from $3 to $20 on the street). As a result, users sometimes combine it with heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or alcohol. This is because it enhances the effects derived from these other substances, creating a "better" high and intensifying the feeling of intoxication.

Irrespective of the method of administration, the effects of Rohypnol tend to kick in after 15 to 20 minutes and last for close to 12 hours.

Rohypnol Effects

You might abuse Rohypnol in a bid to cause drowsiness or decrease anxiety. However, the drug might also slow your thinking, breathing, and heart rate. As any other benzodiazepine, this drug is psychologically and physically addictive, which is why it is illegal in the US.

However, Rohypnol is easy to access because it flows from other areas where it is legal (such as Mexico, Europe, and South America) into the United States. Consider the following effects of using this drug:

  • Slow psychomotor performance
  • Acting drunk
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Coordination problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Disinhibition
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Loss of bodily function and/or control
  • Vision problems

These effects will last anywhere between 3 and 8 hours. As earlier indicated, you might not be able to remember the events that transpired while you were under the influence of this drug.

Rohypnol Side Effects

Among benzodiazepines, Rohypnol is widely considered to be the most dangerous due to its side effects and potential for addiction. These side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Gait problems
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting

Although Rohypnol is a depressant, it can also cause paradoxical reactions when you use it. These reactions include aggressive behavior and excessive excitability.

Rohypnol Addictive Qualities

If you take Rohypnol regularly, you might develop tolerance to it. As a direct result, you would have to take more of the substance to achieve the same effects you got when you started using it.

As your body becomes tolerant to Rohypnol, you will eventually develop physical dependence whereby you will have to take the substance to feel and act normal. Continued use, however, often leads to addiction.

At this point, you will continue using Rohypnol because it would have altered your brain chemistry. This will be despite the negative consequences the drug causes in your life, body, behavior, and brain.

More particularly, physical dependence on Rohypnol is quite severe. This is why you should never try to quit using it cold turkey. The best solution is to undergo detoxification and a taper-down withdrawal method under the supervision of a medic.

Rohypnol might also carry a high potential for addiction because it is so widely available at reasonably affordable prices. Any young person can get it for around the price of a cup of coffee to enjoy close to 8 hours of unhindered intoxication.

Rohypnol Overdose

Continued use of Rohypnol might eventually give way to an overdose, the symptoms of which range from the mild to the severe. Overdose might occur when you take more than 2mg of the drug at any given time.

The risk of overdose is heightened when you combine the medication with other central nervous system depressants like opiates. In many cases, the overdose might be quite dangerous - particularly if you had no idea that you ingested Rohypnol to begin with (such as when it was slipped into your drink by another person).

Consider the following signs of a Rohypnol overdose:

  • Coma
  • Death
  • Extreme intoxication
  • Inability to walk
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Severely slurred speech
  • Slow respiratory rate

If you suspect a Rohypnol overdose, call an ambulance immediately.

Rohypnol Withdrawal

The first step in your Rohypnol addiction treatment will be detoxification. Doctors will detox your body in a bid to remove the drug from your body. Detox is also crucial because it will protect you from the following severe withdrawal symptoms:

  • Abdominal pains
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss (short term)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms might take anywhere between 12 hours to 1 week to show up (depending on how fast your body can metabolize Rohypnol). As an user, you should never try to stop using this drug abruptly. Instead, seek medical assistance to ensure you do not suffer from the above-listed adverse symptoms.

Rohypnol Dangers

Among the dangerous effects of using Rohypnol is amnesia - which is one of the reasons this substance is commonly used as a date rape drug. When you ingest the drug, you might experience loss of inhibitions and memory loss. In some instances, you might also not be able to recall events from when you were under the influence of this substance. This state of intoxication might increase your risk for physical assault or even death. This is particularly the case because Rohypnol comes with powerful sedative effects.

Rohypnol might also pose other adverse health risks particularly when you use or abuse it in the long term. Those who combine it with illicit substances like LSD, heroin, and methamphetamine might also run the risk of coma, overdose, and death.

On the other hand, if you combine Rohypnol with alcohol, it will be even more powerful. This is because alcohol comes with depressant effects that might enhance Rohypnol's sedative effects and heighten your risk of death and other dangerous side effects.

Since it causes balance impairment, this drug might also increase your risk of getting involved in an accident. You may also lose consciousness, go into a coma, or die because of the respiratory depression Rohypnol causes.

The other adverse risk commonly associated with the drug is the risk and potential for addiction. Addiction might eventually interfere with your happiness, health, and overall livelihood. Addiction is also difficult to deal with unless you get treatment and help at a rehabilitation facility.

The other health risks typically associated with Rohypnol use and abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Balance impairment
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Headaches
  • Hypotonic effects (or reduced muscle strength)
  • Memory impairment
  • Overdose
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Respiratory depression
  • Severe sedation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slurred speech
  • Unconsciousness
  • Violent behavior

If you overdose on Rohypnol, you might also lose your inhibitions, and impair your judgment. Overdosing also causes blackouts - a state in which your risk of rape and sexual assault is heightened.

Last but not least, if you take the drug intravenously, your risk of contracting blood-borne ailments such as hepatitis C and B and HIV will be higher.

Signs And Symptoms Of Rohypnol Abuse

Like other drugs, Rohypnol is highly addictive. This applies in particular if you use it over a long time or in doses larger than a doctor might have recommended. Similarly, the potential for addiction rises when you combine it with other substances and alcohol.

Consider the following signs and symptoms of Rohypnol use, abuse, tolerance, dependency, and addiction:

1. Physical Symptoms
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Clumsiness
  • Contracted pupils
  • Decreased coordination
  • Decreased or increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Drunk-like state
  • Experiencing cravings
  • Experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if you decide to quit
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle cramping
  • Nausea
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Slurred speech
  • Sweating
  • Teeth clenching
  • Tremors, or involuntary shaking
  • Using the drug in spite of existing health problems
2. Psychological Symptoms
  • Altered or heightened sense of taste, sound, and sight
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Intense mood swings
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Loss or memory, or memory problems
  • Paranoia
  • Poor judgment
  • Reduced consciousness
3. Behavioral Symptoms
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in friendships and association
  • Driving or engage in other risky activities while under the influence of Rohypnol
  • Engaging in activities you normally wouldn't do, like stealing to acquire the drug
  • Ensuring that you have a constant supply of Rohypnol
  • Experiencing intense urges for this drug
  • Focusing more energy, time, and other resources to acquiring and using Rohypnol
  • Inability to quit using the substance
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of finances, jobs, and relationships due to protracted drug use
  • Lying and being secretive about your drug abuse
  • Neglecting your grooming and personal hygiene
  • Reduced attendance at school or work
  • Skipping out on important social functions due to drug use
  • Withdrawing from your loved ones

Treatment For Rohypnol Addiction

Irrespective of how long you have been abusing Rohypnol, it is possible to overcome your addiction. The best way to do this is by checking into a rehabilitation facility to undergo treatment.

Treatment typically takes the form of a detox to mitigate the adverse withdrawal symptoms associated with this substance. Detox, on the other hand, is followed by inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation - during which you will receive medical and psychological therapy to purge your body and mind of the drug.

Remember, the earlier you seek treatment for Rohypnol addiction, the easier it might be for you to battle this drug and get back to normalcy. Get started as soon as possible and enjoy your recovery.

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