So-called “date rape” drugs, like GHB and Rohypnol, have risen to prominence in recent years. These drugs are placed surreptitiously into the drinks of potential victims – usually at a bar, club or party – in order to induce lassitude and malleability. The drug produces amnesia, meaning victims would have limited or no recollection of an assault.
They work by affecting neurotransmitters, the chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body, relaying signals between nerve cells or neurons. The brain uses neurotransmitters to tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, and your stomach to digest. They can also affect mood, sleep, concentration, and weight.
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that affect these neurotransmitters. They possess sedative, hypnotic, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties.
What is Rohypnol?
Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine that is similar to Valium, medically used to treat insomnia and induce anesthesia.
Rohypnol is taken to produce intoxication, boost the high of heroin, and modulate the effects of cocaine. It is usually combined with alcohol, which is particularly dangerous since both are central nervous system depressants that impair cognitive functions, affecting reaction time. The tablets may also be crushed and snorted, or dissolved and injected. Other adverse effects include dizziness and loss of motor control, drowsiness and lack of coordination, confusion and slurred speech, as well as gastrointestinal disturbances. Higher doses may produce respiratory depression.
Rohypnol’s sedative effects are approximately 7 to 10 times stronger than Valium, appearing fifteen to twenty minutes after administration and lasting approximately four to six hours. It is illegal in the US, but it is legally prescribed in over 60 other countries and is widely available in Mexico, Colombia, and Europe.
What is GHB?
GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate) is an odorless, colorless drug that may impart a slightly salty or soapy taste. It is taken orally and is frequently combined with alcohol. Similar to Rohypnol, it is a central nervous system depressant that can cause euphoria, increased sex drive, and tranquility and as such is commonly abused as a club or date rape drug. Its sedative effect that makes it difficult for a victim to resist an assault, and results in amnesia that makes it difficult to recall the incident.
Negative effects may include sweating, nausea, auditory and visual hallucinations, headaches, vomiting, exhaustion, sluggishness/clumsiness, amnesia, confusion, and even coma. A high number of users (almost seventy percent) report loss of consciousness.
GHB may be medically administered only under FDA-approved, physician-supervised protocols. It is produced in illegal labs, usually adulterated with unknown contaminants that may worsen its toxicity: production often involves the use of lye or drain cleaner mixed with GBL, a chemical cousin of GHB and an industrial solvent often used to strip floors.
Risks of GHB and Rohypnol
High doses of GHB and Rohypnol may result in profound sedation, seizures, coma, severe respiratory depression and even death. Most reports of GHB-related deaths were linked with the use of the drug in combination with alcohol. Often, emergency room admittances related to so-called club drugs involve multiple substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, meth or alcohol.
Addiction and Withdrawal
Repeated use of either GHB or Rohypnol can result in physical dependence, with accompanying withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. These can be severe and incapacitating and may include insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating.
Not all users become physically dependent on the drug and may undergo recovery on an outpatient basis. For others, withdrawal symptoms may be severe enough to require close medical supervision, to the degree of hospitalization for 7 to 14 days.
Attempting to self-medicate the withdrawal process using other benzodiazepines or alcohol may worsen withdrawal, and lead to respiratory depression, coma, and death.
You can learn more about treatment options for GHB and Rohypnol abuse by calling or toll-free number today.