Rarely abused drugs – 4: Rohypnol

05-29-2017 Posted in Addiction, Drug Addiction, synthetic drugs

Historically, people have been using a plethora of drugs to get the feelings of euphoria or change the way they feel. People get hooked on to a variety of drugs, be it illegal ones like cocaine, heroin or marijuana or legal substances such as tobacco or alcohol. However, there are individuals who use medicines that are used to treat illness as a drug of abuse. While most people get addicted to commonly available prescription drugs such as opioids (pain relievers), central nervous system (CNS) depressants and stimulants, there are many people whose life revolves around some of the rare medications which though less common or unheard of, can produce a similar “paralyzing” effect.

One of such rare drugs abused by most teens in the United States is “Rohypnol,” which is a benzodiazepine with properties of sedative or hypnotic drugs. Interestingly, the drug is widely used by American teens to get the euphoric effects, especially at bars, parties and raves, attributed to its ability to produce amnesia or sedative effects.

What is Rohypnol?

Although Rohypnol resembles Valium and Xanax in terms of chemical structure and effects, studies have shown that it is ten times more potent than them. The pill, available in white or olive green color, can be consumed by either crushing and snorting, sprinkling on marijuana and smoking it, dissolving in a drink or injecting into the blood directly.

Due to its high prevalence among teens and young adults, it is also known as club drug or date rape drug. Despite its similarity to Valium in chemical structure, Rohypnol is not approved for medical use in the United States and its importation is banned as of now.

Rohypnol’s life-threatening consequences

Rohypnol has strong sedative potential. People addicted to this drug experience a variety of adverse effects, such as loss of muscle control, confusion, drowsiness, and so on. The effects usually start 20-30 minutes after taking the drug, peak within two hours and may persist for eight or even 12 hours. The loss of muscle control can be so strong that the user may collapse with eyes wide open. At this stage, while the users are able to observe the activities happening around them, they are not able to move to take charge of the situation. This kind of reaction may further lead to significant memory impairments.

Apart from causing the typical “paralyzing” effect, Rohypnol, if mixed with alcohol or other CNS depressants can lead to life-threatening consequences. Often compared with Valium, the chemical composition of Rohypnol is still under the scanner as the drug is suspected to contain contaminants of unknown toxicity. Hence, the magnitude to damage that can be caused due to the drug remains undetermined.

Irrespective of the intensity and duration of abuse, the drug can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. However, there are range of certified treatments available, which can offer a respite from its detrimental effects. Due to its rarity, Rohypnol addiction is treated using a wide range of professional treatments that offer supervised detox that ensures safety and comfort during withdrawal process.

Seeking professional help

Rohypnol comes with serious side effects and warnings even with its therapeutic usage. Its regular doses can also cause drowsiness, amnesia, confusion, paranoia, etc. If you or your loved one is suffering from an addiction to drugs, or any other substance, contact the 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline to get the best recovery interventions. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-403-5607 or chat online for further information on inpatient drug abuse treatment centers as well as outpatient drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S.

Read the other articles of the series “Rarely abused drugs”:

  1. Clonidine
  2. Dicyclomine
  3. Venlafaxine
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