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Sunday, January 25, 1998 Published at 17:53 GMT



UK

Clampdown on 'date-rape' drug
image: [ It will become illegal to possess the drug without good reason ]
It will become illegal to possess the drug without good reason

Tougher restrictions are being imposed on a prescription sleeping pill and painkiller linked to date-rape cases.

The drug, Rohypnol, disorientates victims leaving them unable to fight off their attackers.

It also clouds their memories, meaning people remember little of their experience until days later when forensic evidence has been lost and the drug has disappeared from their blood.


[ image: Rohypnol is so dangerous because it is impossible to detect when added to drink]
Rohypnol is so dangerous because it is impossible to detect when added to drink
Now the Department of Health and the Home Office have agreed to tighten up the rules governing possession of the drug, re-categorising it from Schedule 4 to Schedule 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

This means it will be illegal for anyone to own the drug unless they can prove it is for legal purposes.

Currently, possession of the medicinal form of the drug is allowed even if the owner cannot demonstrate a legitimate reason for having it.


[ image: Ravers have started using Rohypnol to come down from other drugs]
Ravers have started using Rohypnol to come down from other drugs
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The new regulations will take effect some time in the next few months."

Rohypnol, the brand name for Flunitrazepam, is prescribed privately in Britain for back pain and insomnia.

It is readily available in Britain for just 1 a tablet and has gained popularity among clubbers who use it to come down after taking Ecstasy or speed.

The drug, which is 10 times the strength of Valium, is tasteless, colourless and odourless, so is completely undetectable when slipped in a drink.

Manufacturer Rosche are modifying the drug with a blue dye so it can no longer be slipped into victims' drinks.








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Internet Links

Home Office

Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic Rohypnol information

American drug testing agency Rohypnol information

Drug Free America Rohypnol information

US Department of Justice Rohypnol information

Department of Health


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