Benzodiazepine BLOG

The notoriety of Rohypnol (or Roofies) as a date rape drug has been diminished due to the modifications done by its manufacturer, Roche. But now, resourceful criminals are looking to the sleep aid Ambien as their new drug of choice.

Doctors are alerting the public about the dangerous effects of the sleep-inducing drug together with alcohol and other illicit drugs. Dr. Peter Winsauer, a pharmacologist at the LSU Health Sciences Center, said that mixing Ambien, morphine, and alcohol could produce a potent anesthetic cocktail. Worse case scenario, the mixture could be deadly. "Probably this combination of drugs will produce more respiratory depression than the opioids or comparable. They'll fall asleep, stop breathing and not wake up," said Dr. Winsauer in a news release.

Roche redesigned the strong relaxant drug Rohypnol so that the drug would alter the appearance of the beverage that it has been mixed into. This was done to thwart the efforts of people planning to use it for sexual crimes. "What the company did is compound the drug with a dye so that if it's placed in dark alcoholic drinks, the drink becomes cloudy. And if it's placed in clear alcoholic drinks, it turns a particular color, usually blue," according to Dr. Winsauer.

Ambien's role in sexual assault came to the forefront after ex-Saints player Darren Sharper was charged with "two counts of rape by use of drugs" February 14. The drugs that he allegedly used were a combination of the sleep-aid pill with morphine and booze.

Back in 2009, Tiger Woods was also involved in the recreational use of Ambien.