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Generic name: Flunitrazepam
Brand Names: Rohypnol, others; not available legally in U.S. but is available in other countries
Common or street names: forget me drug, roches, roofies, ruffles; other names include date rape drug, la roche, R2, rib, roach, roofenol, rope, rophies, the forget pill, getting roached, lunch money drug, Mexican Valium, pingus, Reynolds, Robutal, wolfies.
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.
Like other benzodiazepines (such as Valium, Librium and Xanax), Rohypnol's effects include sedation, muscle relaxation, reduction in anxiety, and prevention of convulsions. However, Rohypnol's sedative effects are approximately 7 to 10 times stronger than Valium. The effects of Rohypnol appear 15 to 20 minutes after administration and last approximately four to six hours. Some residual effects can be found 12 hours or more after administration.
Rohypnol is not approved for medical use or manufactured in the United States and is not available legally. However, it is legally prescribed in over 60 other countries and is widely available in Mexico, Colombia, and Europe where it is used for the treatment of insomnia and as a pre-anesthetic. Therefore, it was placed into Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act in 1984 due to international treaty obligations and remains under that classification. Schedule IV drugs are considered to have a lower abuse potential but can lead to physical or psychological dependence. The penalties associated with the possession, trafficking, and distribution of Rohypnol are equivalent to those of a Schedule I substance (Schedule I substances include heroin, marijuana, and MDMA.
Rohypnol causes partial amnesia; individuals are unable to remember certain events that they experience while under the influence of the drug. This effect is particularly dangerous when Rohypnol is used to aid in the commission of sexual assault; victims may not be able to clearly recall the assault, the assailant, or the events surrounding the assault.
Rohypnol use in the US, according to the 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey, has increased by 0.2 percent since 2009. However, use has been relatively stable from 1999 to 2010, with yearly use estimates ranging from 0.6 to 0.9 percent of 8th to 12th grade respondents.
Rohypnol, previously available as a white tablet that dissolved without color or taste, is now formulated as a 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, and 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. It may also be abused by crushing tablets and snorting the powder, or by dissolving prior to injection. Rohypnol abuse causes a number of adverse effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, loss of motor control, lack of coordination, slurred speech, confusion, and gastrointestinal disturbances, lasting 12 or more hours. Higher doses may produce respiratory depression.
Chronic use of Rohypnol can result in physical dependence and the appearance of a withdrawal syndrome when the drug is discontinued. Rohypnol impairs cognitive and psychomotor functions affecting reaction time and driving skill. The use of this drug in combination with alcohol is a particular concern as both central nervous system depressants potentiate each other's toxicity. Injection of any illegal drug puts the user at risk of contracting HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne illnesses.
After going out on the market as a high sedative for pre-operation needs, anxiety, and insomnia, in the 1990's it became well known as the 'date rape' drug. It was discovered that people would use it as an easy assist to sexually assault someone by simply putting it in their drink or slipping it to them some other way. This would put them in a deep sleep, cause them to black out, or force them into feeling loss of memory.
In October of 1996, the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act was passed. "The bill provides new penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment and fines in accordance with Title 18, U.S.C., for persons who intend to commit a crime of violence (including rape), by distributing a controlled substance to another individual without that individual's knowledge." (Sexual Assault Services)
Specifically those actions done with Rohypnol, include up to 20 years in prison for people who knowingly or unknowingly manufacture, distribute or dispense 1 gram of Rohypnol. For 30 mg the prison sentence can be up to 5 years. Possession of the drug is penalized by up to 3 years in prison and a fine. In Latin America and European countries it is prescribed for insomnia and a pre-operational sedation. Its legal in 60 countries currently, although illegal in U.S.

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