Drug Overview

Important information regarding OTHER BENZODIAZEPINES drug use.

Several benzodiazepines find themselves in the testing system at present. (See under “Benzodiazepines” ) There are numerous others, however, that are NOT being tested for. The most notorious of these is Rhohypnol, the “date-rape drug” and Klonipin, the most potent of all the benzodiazepines. (milligram for milligram) Benzodiazepines are also known medically as “minor tranquilizers.”

The benzodiazepine family of depressants are used therapeutically to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures. In general, benzodiazepines act as hypnotics in high doses, as anxiolytics in moderate doses, and as sedatives in low doses. Of the drugs marketed in the United States that affect CNS function, benzodiazepines are among the most widely prescribed medications and, unfortunately, are frequently abused. Fifteen members of this group are presently marketed in the United States and an additional 20 are marketed in other countries.

Like the barbiturates, benzodiazepines differ from one another in how fast they take effect and how long the effects last. Shorter-acting benzodiazepines, used to manage insomnia, include estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril) and triazolam (Halcion).

Benzodiazepines with longer durations of action include alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), halazepam (Paxipam), lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax) and prazepam (Centrax). These longer acting drugs are primarily used for the treatment of general anxiety. Midazolam (Versed) is available in the United States only in an injectable form for an adjunct to anesthesia. Clonazepam (Klonopin) is recommended for use in the treatment of seizure disorders.

Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), which produces diazepam-like effects, is becoming increasingly popular among young people as a drug of abuse. The drug is not marketed legally in the United States, but is smuggled in by traffickers.

Benzodiazepines are classified in the CSA as Schedule IV depressants. Repeated use of large doses or, in some cases, daily use of therapeutic doses of benzodiazepines is associated with physical dependence. The withdrawal syndrome is similar to that of alcohol withdrawal and is generally more unpleasant and longer lasting than narcotic withdrawal and frequently requires hospitalization. Abrupt cessation of benzodiazepines is not recommended, and tapering-down the dose eliminates many of the unpleasant symptoms.

Given the number of people who are prescribed benzodiapines, relatively few patients increase their dosage or engage in drug-seeking behavior. However, those individuals who do abuse benzodiazepines often maintain their drug supply by getting prescriptions from several doctors, forging prescriptions or buying diverted pharmaceutical products on the illicit market. Abuse is frequently associated with adolescents and young adults who take benzodiazepines to obtain a “high.” This intoxicated state results in reduced inhibition and impaired judgement. Concurrent use of alcohol or other depressants with benzodiazepines can be life-threatening. Abuse of benzodiazepines is particularly high among heroin and cocaine abusers. Approximately 50 percent of people entering treatment for narcotic or cocaine addiction also report abusing benzodiazepines.

[Abstracted from D.E.A. website q.v.]

Drug Effects

SMarked sedation, loss of memory, and usually a “drunken-like” high. The different drugs vary, but Roofies are especially dangerous because they seem to act rapidly and have the ability to render an unsuspecting victim very vulnerable.
Incidence of Abuse
Very prevalent!
Chemical Name
Several drugs involved! See discussion above. Remember, these drugs are NOT IN THE TESTING SYSTEM AS OF 1997
Forms and Street Names
Rhohypnol is known as Roofies and “Roche.” It is 10 times as potent as Valium! Klonipin is referred to by its trade name, “Klonipin.” … apparently has no “nickname” as yet. Click here for more info about Rohypnol
Preferred routes of administration
Drugs vary! Usually 2 – 4 days!
[Some are longer acting — see discussion above!]
Facts for Verifying M.R.O
No federally defined protocols for these analogs except for Rohypnol…. for which an assay has recently become available. (Check with your lab! Medtox has recently advertised an assay for this)