Roofies, the street name for Rohypnol, are powerful sedatives belonging to the benzodiazepine class, initially developed in the 1970s for treating sleep disorders and anxiety. However, their potent sedative and amnesic properties have led to their notoriety as a primary drug used in sexual assaults. Roofies are particularly dangerous due to their odorless and tasteless nature, making them nearly undetectable when slipped into beverages. Although Roofies are not legally prescribed in the U.S., they are available in South Africa under Schedule 6 prescription and as a Class C drug in the UK.
Abuse of Roofies often involves taking them orally, sometimes combined with alcohol or other drugs to enhance their effects. Illegally obtained, including through online sources, possession and distribution of Roofies carry severe legal consequences. Symptoms of abuse range from confusion and lethargy to aggressive behavior and severe forgetfulness, with physical impacts including muscle relaxation and respiratory depression. The danger escalates significantly when Roofies are mixed with alcohol.
Predominantly known for causing deep incapacitation, Roofies leave victims without any memory of the event, making them particularly insidious in cases of sexual assault. Symptoms start with nausea and dizziness, advancing to severe disorientation, memory loss, and impaired judgment. Certain forms of the drug may contain a dye that turns light-colored drinks blue, though this is not detectable in darker liquids.
Recreationally, Roofies are used in some countries as a party drug, despite their associated risks, especially among young people. Their misuse can lead to tolerance and dependence, with withdrawal symptoms that include headaches, anxiety, and muscle pain. In emergencies, particularly when mixed with other substances, Roofies can lead to life-threatening overdoses, requiring immediate medical attention.
To mitigate these risks, it’s advised to be vigilant with beverages, and immediate medical care is essential for those suspected of Roofies consumption. Treatment and support are critical for individuals addicted to Roofies to navigate the challenges of withdrawal and overcome the drug’s harmful effects.
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Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specializing in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa, and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance, the organization facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualized care that addresses the physical, mental, and social needs of patients.
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