All across the country, young people are taking part in an intense, often overwhelming party culture. It’s all too easy to participate, and partying hard is often glorified in social circles–even in academic and athletic environments.
Rohypnol and Other Club Drugs
If we can think of epic nights out as a type of ‘party olympics,’ one particular group of drugs can be considered the MVP: club drugs.
Club drugs–substances like Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, ketamine, as well as MDMA (ecstasy) and methamphetamine–are known for enhancing the party experience. Can you guess which of these highly addictive drugs is odorless, tasteless, colorless, and frequently abused by both consumers and predators looking to sedate victims?
If you said either GHB or Rohypnol, you’re not wrong. Of course, the title of this post may have given it away. This post will focus on Rohypnol: its composition, consequences, and treatment options.
Rohypnol goes by many names, including:
- La Rocha/Mexican Valium
- Mind Eraser
Perhaps the third nickname stuck out for you. Rohypnol falls under the benzodiazepine drug class and behaves very similarly to Valium. It’s immediate-acting, meaning that the consumer will begin to feel its effects as soon as they take it.
Just like Valium, Ativan, and Xanax, Rohypnol can produce therapeutic effects that are helpful for certain purposes, including:
- Fast-acting sedation
- Muscle relaxation
- Easing anxiety
- Seizure prevention
- Sleep disorders
However, it differs in one crucial way from Valium and other drugs like it: it’s totally illegal in the United States.
Usually, people smuggle Rohypnol across the border. It can be obtained in other countries, namely Mexico (thus the nickname “Mexican Valium”) and Colombia, along with most countries in Europe. In those countries, it’s often prescribed as a sleep aid or as a pre-anesthetic.
So what makes people commit a crime just to consume and sell Rohypnol?
The first incentive is the various euphoric influences it has on the body. Consumers of the drug can expect to feel extreme relaxation and a release of muscle tension.
A second incentive is the efficiency with which Rohypnol can cause sedation. As such, it is used by predators looking to physically or sexually assault their victims. Because the drug often produces a strong amnesia among victims, it makes it very difficult to later report an assault. Criminals are nearly impossible to prosecute if a victim is unable to remember the crime.
Rebel Wilson, the hilarious Australian Pitch Perfect star, reported being drugged with the substance at a popular club with friends. She felt disoriented and very sleepy almost immediately after taking a sip of her drink. She realized what had happened and got home to safety, but many people are not aware of what has happened until it’s too late.
Other women have also reported figuring out that they’ve been drugged at clubs once they began to experience sudden and seemingly unprovoked symptoms, such as:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Change in body temperature
- Dizziness or blurred vision
Unfortunately, Rohypnol has many additional adverse side effects:
- Temporary partial to total loss of motor control paired with partial to total decrease in reaction time
- Mild to severe judgment impairment
- Mild to severe lack of coordination paired with slurred speech
- Mild to acute confusion and amnesia
- Digestive issues and/or slowed or labored breathing
Many of these side effects target cognitive skills, such as the ability to think critically or make choices that keep us out of danger.
At the same time, we can’t drive well without quick reaction times. Using Rohypnol and later driving or operating anything from a bicycle to heavy machinery can be extremely dangerous. This danger increases exponentially when the substance is mixed with other club drugs, prescription medicines, or alcohol.
Can someone become addicted to Rohypnol even with the plethora of adverse effects that it can have?
Absolutely. With repetitive or chronic consumption, the body begins to build a biological dependence on the drug. This means that if the drug is abruptly stopped, withdrawal symptoms will ensue. People often experience these uncomfortable and frightening symptoms:
- Changes in behavior or personality
- Sleep disorders
We Are Here to Help
In the Houston area, we know that many young people experiment with drugs. Many still become addicted to them. Rohypnol is no exception. At Great Oaks Recovery Center, we believe that, more often than not, a person becomes dependent on mind-altering substances because of some root cause or psychological trauma from their past.
That’s why we’re available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about your own or a loved one’s substance abuse issue, as well as provide immediate support and therapy in our detox program. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have. Together, we can overcome dependence and addiction.