Sex Drugs – Rohypnol

What is it?

Rohypnol is a sleeping pill marketed by Roche Pharmaceuticals. On the street it is often call roofies, roche, R-2, rib and rope. The drug is a very potent tranquilizer similar to Valium, but much, much stronger.

Rohypnol produces a sedative effect, amnesia, muscle relaxation and a slowing of psychomotor responses.

The drug is often distributed on the street in its bubble packaging which makes it appear legitimate and legal. Rohypnol is reportedly sold for $2.00 to $4.00 per tablet.

Originally, illicit use of Rohypnol was reported in Europe in the late 1970’s. Police sources in Florida and Texas reported first seeing roofies in the United States in the early 1990’s.

Rohypnol

Rohypnol, the trade name for flunitrazepam, has been a concern for the last few years because of its abuse as a “date rape” drug. People may unknowingly be given the drug which, when mixed with alcohol, can incapacitate a victim and prevent them from resisting sexual assault. Also, Rohypnol may be lethal when mixed with alcohol and/or other depressants.

Rohypnol produces sedative-hypnotic effects including muscle relaxation and amnesia; it can also produce physical and psychological dependence. In Miami, one of the first sites of Rohypnol abuse, poison control centers report an increase in withdrawal seizures among people addicted to Rohypnol.

Rohypnol is not approved for use in the United States and its importation is banned. Illicit use of Rohypnol began in Europe in the 1970s and started appearing in the United States in the early 1990s, where it became known as “rophies,” “roofies,” “roach,” “rope,” and the “date rape” drug.

Another very similar drug is now being sold as “roofies” in Miami, Minnesota, and Texas. This is clonazepam, marketed in the U.S. as Klonopin and in Mexico as Rivotril. It is sometimes abused to enhance the effects of heroin and other opiates. Based on emergency room admission information, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Seattle appear to have the highest use rates of clonazepam.

What are the Effects?

The Rohypnol effects begin approximately 20-30 minutes after taking the drug and peak within two hours. Depending on the dosage, the effects usually last up to 8 hours.

The side effects of Rohypnol are:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Black outs
  • Loss of memory
  • Sedation
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Problems with vision
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Disinhibition
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Fearlessness

A.K.A Date Rape Drug

One of the most common abuse patterns is to use Rohypnol as a rape drug. Rohypnol is known as a rape drug because perpetrators reportedly slip it into victim’s drinks causing them to black out. Rohypnol takes away a victim’s normal inhibitions, leaving the victim helpless and blocking the memory of a rape or assault.

Only 10 minutes after ingesting Rohypnol, a person may feel dizzy, disoriented, too hot or cold and nauseated. They may also have a difficult time speaking and eventually, the victim will pass out. The person will then have no recollection of the events that occurred.

Mixing roofies with alcohol can be more dangerous and may cause respiratory depression, aspiration and possibly death.

GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyerate)

What is it?

Originally developed as an anesthetic, GHB is a naturally occurring 4-carbon molecule sold in powdered, liquid or capsule form. On the street it can be known as: G, Liquid X, Liquid E, Scoop, Soap, Gook, Grievous Bodily Harm, Georgia Home Boy, Natural Sleep-500, Easy Lay or Gamma 10. It usually is tasteless, but may be recognized at times by a salty taste.

GHB was formerly sold by health-food stores and gyms as a sleep aid, anabolic agent, fat burner, enhancer of muscle definition and natural psychedelic. GHB was first synthesized in 1960 by a French researcher. It has been used in Europe as a general anesthetic, a treatment for insomnia and narcolepsy, an aid to childbirth and a treatment for alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

In the last few years it has been gaining popularity as a recreational drug offering an alcohol-like, hangover free high with possible prosexual effects (disinhibition often occurs and inhibitions are suppressed).

GHB

Since 1990, GHB (gamma- hydroxybutyrate) has been abused in the U.S. for euphoric, sedative, and anabolic (body building) effects. As with Rohypnol and clonazepam, GHB has been associated with sexual assault in cities throughout the country.

Reports from Detroit indicate liquid GHB is being used in nightclubs for effects similar to those of Rohypnol. It is also common in the club scene in Phoenix, Honolulu, and Texas, where it is known as “liquid ecstacy,” “somatomax,” “scoop,” or “grievous bodily harm.” In Miami, poison control center calls have reflected problems associated with increased GHB use, including loss of consciousness. In New York City, there have been reports of GHB use among those in the fashion industry. In Atlanta, it is commonly used as a synthetic steroid at fitness centers and gyms.

Coma and seizures can occur following abuse of GHB and, when combined with methamphetamine, there appears to be an increased risk of seizure. Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and difficulty breathing. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. Because of concern about Rohypnol, GHB, and other similarly abused sedative-hypnotics, Congress passed the “Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996” in October 1996. This legislation increased Federal penalties for use of any controlled substance to aid in sexual assault.

What are the effects?

GHB side effects are usually felt within 5 to 20 minutes after ingestion and they usually last no more than two to three hours. The effects of GHB are unpredictable and very dose-dependent.

Sleep paralysis, agitation, delusions and hallucination have all been reported. Other effects include excessive salivation, decreased gag reflex and vomiting in 30 to 50 percent of users. Dizziness may occur for up to two weeks post ingestion. GHB can cause severe reactions when combined with alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, anticonvulsant and allergy remedies.

In November 1990, the Food and Drug Administration issues a warning that GHB can cause seizures, coma, respiratory arrest and death, especially when mixed with alcoholic beverages.

The side effects of GHB are:

  • Abrupt, intense drowsiness
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Slower, deep respiration
  • Giddiness, silliness and dizziness
  • Temporary amnesia
  • Interference with mobility and  verbal coherence
  • Diarrhea
  • Semi-consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Coma
  • Sleep-walking
  • Death

A.K.A Date Rape Drug

One of the most common abuse patterns of GHB is by rapists slipping the drug into a victim’s drink (usually alcohol). Within a few moments, the victim will appear drunk and helpless. Often the perpetrator will become a good Samaritan and offer to escort the victim home. When the victim regains consciousness, he or she has no memory of the events.

Sex Drugs
Alcohol and Rape

Sexual Assault combined with Drugs and Alcohol. The dangers and realities of sexual assault are exacerbated when drugs and alcohol become involved. Alcohol and drugs can inhibit resistance, increase aggression and impair decision-making skills. Sexual assault and acquaintance rape are types of violence that are most likely to occur in social settings that foster rape-supportive attitudes and norms. A study published in the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy reported that of those students who had been victims of some type of sexual aggression while in college–from rape to intimidation to illegal restraint–68 percent of their male assailants had been drinking at the time of the attack. Alcohol and drug use exaggerates problems with misinterpretation of sexual intent and can be used to justify assault. Studies show that many college men believe that alcohol increases arousal and legitimates non-consensual aggression. They also report that many college men believe that women who had two or more drinks are more interested than other women in having sex.