What is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is also known as the date rape drug
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Remember: All drugs, including the misuse of prescribed medication, can pose serious health risks, up to and including possible death.

Rohypnol is prescription drug intended for use in treating sleep disorders, such as insomnia.

The effects are similar to valium, but 10 times stronger. Rohypnol is sold on prescription in bubble packs of 1 or 2mg doses (usually in the form of white tablets with the word ROCHE written across).
It is also know as the “date rape” drug, as it can be used to spike someone’s drink and make a person become unconscious. 

What are the effects of Rohypnol?

  • Rohypnol takes effect within 20 to 30 minutes of administration and lasts up to eight hours. It acts as a sedative by inducing amnesia, relaxing the muscles, and slowing down psychomotor responses
  • Tolerance is likely with repeated use, which means you need more to get the same effect

Dangers of Rohypnol

  • Continued abuse of rohypnol can lead to physical dependency
  • Withdrawal symptoms may include headaches, muscle pain, confusion, hallucinations and even convulsions. Seizures may occur up to a week after users have quit
  • Experts advise controlling withdrawal under medical supervision if you’re misusing rohypnol or other benzodiazepines. Consult your doctor before trying to stop

Keeping your drink safe

  • Always be aware of the danger that someone may try to spike your drink
  • Avoid leaving a drink unattended
  • If a stranger offers you a drink do not accept it
  • If a group of you go out together, help to make yourself safe by selecting a person who will not be drinking to keep an eye on the group’s drinks
  • Wherever possible, try to drink out of a bottle or can. It is more difficult to spike a bottle or can than it is to drop a drug into a drink in an open glass
  • Be aware that non-alcoholic drinks can be spiked also

What should I do if my drink has been spiked?

  • If you think your drink has been spiked, you should tell a friend, the bar staff, the security staff, or the police right away
  • Try to tell more than one person as you may not know who has spiked your drink. Ask them to stay with you and look after you
  • You may need to go to hospital. The effects of a spiked drink can worsen very quickly, so make sure to get help immediately
  • If you don’t feel well and someone, whether a stranger or a friend, tries to separate you from friends or takes you somewhere isolated then resist as much as possible. Scream for help, kick, push, do everything you can to avoid being alone with them
  • Don’t accept help from strangers or someone you don’t feel comfortable with

Harm reduction advice

If you choose to take drugs remember:

  • Start with a very small test dose and wait at least two hours before taking more.
  • Stay with your friends and do not leave anybody who is intoxicated on their own.
  • Avoid mixing drugs and alcohol. Every time you mix drugs, including alcohol and prescription medication, you increase the risks.
  • Always hydrate with water but don’t drink over a pint an hour.
  • If you are dancing, remember to take breaks from dancing and give yourself time to cool down.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help if you or a friend become unwell or feel suicidal after using drugs. Call 112 or 999

Support services

  • Drugs.ie: Online information and support for drug and alcohol use. Includes a national directory of drug and alcohol services
  • HSE Drugs, Alcohol, HIV and Sexual Health Helpline: Freephone 1800 459 459.
  • The Club Drug Clinic offers advice, support and detoxification for GHB (Liquid Ecstasy, G) and other chemsex and club drugs is an integrated person centred specialist addiction service: Tel 016488600
  • Rialto Community Drug Team
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