Rohypnol, also most commonly known as roofies, is a brand name form of a drug called flunitrazepam. It is a benzodiazepine similar to Xanax and Valium, although with much more potent effects. Although it is not approved for medical use in the United States, it is prescribed to treat insomnia in other countries.
Rohypnol is known as a club drug, commonly abused by young people at parties, concerts, bars, night clubs, etc. Because it can induce unconsciousness and amnesia, it is also used to drug victims of sexual assault.
Like any benzodiazepine, Rohypnol is highly addictive, and withdrawing from the drug can be extremely dangerous, even fatal, if done improperly. If you regularly abuse Rohypnol, you should never abruptly stop taking it. The best course of action is to let a medical doctor supervise your detox at a qualified treatment facility.
Understanding Rohypnol Abuse
Rohypnol is not approved for medical use in the United States, and it is banned from importation. Nevertheless, it is still be obtained illegally, as a street drug. Although usually taken in pill form, some users have been known to grind up and snort Rohypnol.
You may use Rohypnol to self-medicate insomnia or anxiety, or because you feel it relaxes you and lowers your inhibitions. You may believe you’ll have more fun on the drug. The truth is, it doesn’t much matter how you feel while on it, as you are likely to experience a blackout, and be unable to remember anything that occurred while you were under the influence.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s InfoFacts sheet on Club Drugs, Rohypnol can also be lethal when mixed with alcohol, which makes it an especially dangerous choice as a party drug.
Street names for Rohypnol include:
- Date Rape Drug
- Forget Pill, Forget-Me Pill
- La Rocha
- Lunch Money
- Mexican Valium
- Mind Eraser
- Roach, Roach 2, Roaches, Roachies
- Roapies, Rope
- Rochas Dos
- Roofies, Rophies, Ruffies
Rohypnol and Sexual Assault
Many forms of Rohypnol are completely undetectable once dissolved in liquid. Sexual predators will use Rohypnol for this reason, and because it will not only incapacitate a victim, it will cause them to have retrograde amnesia, so they will be unable to remember the attack or identify their attacker.
Signs and Symptoms of Rohypnol Abuse
It is quite easy to get hooked on Rohypnol. Some signs and symptoms of Rohypnol addiction may include:
- appearing drunk even when no alcohol has been ingested
- extreme sleepiness
- changes in appearance or hygiene
- changes in eating habits
- mental clouding
- memory loss
- isolation from family and friends
- financial problems
- changes in mood
- lack of interest in favorite hobbies and activities
Dangers of Rohypnol Abuse
Rohypnol is a dangerous drug that is illegal in the United States, and therefore completely unregulated here. This means that there is no way to know if a particular pill actually contains what a dealer claims it does.
Being under the influence of Rohypnol is not particularly enjoyable, and the common side effect of amnesia means that you may not remember anything that happened while you were on the drug anyway. The more you know about this drug, the less appealing it becomes.
But perhaps you didn’t know much about the drug before you started taking it, and now your drug use feels out of control. You’ve developed a tolerance, which has forced you to increase your dosage to experience the same effects. By doing so, you are also increasing your risk of medical complications, including fatality.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Commonly Abused Drugs chart, short term health effects of Rohypnol include:
- decreased anxiety
- muscle relaxation
- impaired reaction time and motor coordination
- impaired mental functioning and judgment
- slurred speech
- slowed breathing and heart rate
Drinking alcohol with Rohypnol will cause severe sedation and possible unconsciousness. It can slow down your heart rate and breathing so much that it could be fatal.
Who Abuses Rohypnol?
Anyone who abuses Rohypnol can potentially become addicted, no matter whether you take it for social anxiety, insomnia, or to lose your inhibitions.
If you are addicted, it is never too late to get help. Bolster your courage by remembering that the dangerous and unpleasant effects of the drug will always outnumber any influence you consider positive, and the danger will only increase with continued use.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Commonly Abused Drugs chart lists the following Rohypnol withdrawal symptoms:
- muscle pain
- extreme anxiety
- numbness and tingling of hands or feet
Am I Addicted to Rohypnol?
Rohypnol is highly addictive and extremely dangerous. If you fear that you are addicted to Rohypnol, read the following statements and honestly consider how they may apply to you.
- I have intense cravings for drugs.
- I feel like I have to use drugs regularly, daily or even several times a day.
- I require higher doses now to get high than I did when I started using.
- I spend money I can’t afford to get drugs.
- I am obsessed with making sure I maintain my supply of drugs.
- I have failed to meet work, home and/or school obligations due to my drug use.
- I avoid people who disapprove of or discourage my drug use.
- I have done things I am ashamed of, such as stealing, in order to obtain drugs.
- I engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex while under the influence of the drug.
- My life seems to revolve around getting and using the drug.
- I have tried and failed to stop using drugs on my own due to withdrawal symptoms.
If you can see yourself in one or more of these statements, you may be addicted to Rohypnol.
Rohypnol Addiction Treatment
You did not use Rohypnol for the first time with the intention of becoming addicted. Drug use can seem like no big deal initially—like something you can pick up and put down again whenever you want.
Now that you’re hooked, you probably feel like your life has spiraled out of control, and that you are powerless to overcome your drug use. This is not true. You do have the power to change; you just need help to do it.
You need clarity of mind and a body free from addictive substances before you can be effectively treated for drug abuse, but detoxing from Rohypnol is best approached through a qualified substance abuse rehab facility.
Withdrawing from Rohypnol is very unpleasant and can even be dangerous. You should never suddenly stop taking Rohypnol. A doctor will have you taper off of the drug gradually, to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Although there are no FDA approved drugs to treat addiction to Rohypnol, having expert assistance as you detox will ensure that you do so safely, with as little discomfort as possible.
Whether you choose inpatient residential treatment, and/or outpatient treatment, all recovery plans will include counseling.
- Individual counseling allows you to focus intensively on issues one on one with a therapist, possibly discovering and addressing co-occurring conditions—mental health issues that are likely contributing to your substance abuse disorder.
- Group therapy allows you to both support and experience support from other addicts. Not only can you learn from the experience of others, group counseling reminds you that you are not alone in the challenges you face.
- Family therapy works to improve communication between loved ones, resolve problems, and teach you how to create the best possible environment at home, to prevent relapse.
Other treatment options include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches you how to unlearn negative patterns of behavior, retraining your brain to think differently about drug use, and to respond with new, healthier behaviors when confronted with stress, cravings and trigger situations.
- Support groups based on the 12-step program that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are additional ways for you to benefit from mutually supportive interactions with other people in recovery.
- Nutrition, fitness and recreational therapy can be immensely helpful in treatment. A strong body is just as important as a strong mind when it comes to overcoming substance abuse. The better you feel, the more prepared you’ll be to face the ups and downs of everyday life after you leave treatment.