Dangerous social media trend encourages Thai teens to take Rohypnol

Image via ThaiPbs

Parents in Thailand have been warned that a dangerous TikTok trend is encouraging teenagers to take Rohypnol, commonly known as “roofies” or “date rape drug.” Rohypnol is a strong drug that causes extreme drowsiness, and dizziness known for causing blackouts.

Rohypnol is commonly associated with “date rape,” with many people worldwide – mostly women – reporting that they have been raped after someone slipped the drug into their drink. The drug is used by criminals to “knock people out,” making them vulnerable to rape, burglaries, and other crimes. The drug kicks in after 20-30 minutes and the effects last for around eight – 12 hours.

The drug is sold as a sleeping pill in some countries but is illegal in the US. In Thailand, Rohypnol is used to treat extreme cases of insomnia, but can only be consumed with a prescription. It is not available to buy at pharmacies.

The drug is usually colourless and odorless, but in Thailand, food colouring is added to Rohypnol during manufacturing to try and discourage its misuse. Pharmaceutical companies have made the pill a green/blue colour so that if it is mixed into someone’s drink, the drink will change colour and they will know not to drink it.

Under the hashtag #BlueTongueTeenagers (#วัยรุ้นลิ้นฟ้า), teenagers in Thailand are posting photos and videos of their blue tongues after taking the drug. Drug dealers are using the hashtag to illegally sell the drug to teenagers online.

Parents have been warned that if they notice their child has a blue tongue, they should immediately consult the police. Rohypnol bought illegally online could be even more dangerous as it could be cut with other drugs.

Yesterday, Deputy Secretary-General of Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Surachoke Tangwiwat released a statement to inform the public that Rohypnol is a psychotropic drug that can only be taken with a doctor’s prescription. In Thailand, Rohypnol is regulated as a Type 2 Psychotropic Drug under the Psychotropic Substances Act 2016.

Selling the drug without a license in Thailand is punishable by four to 20 years in prison and/or a fine between 400,000 – 2,000,000 baht. Consuming the drug without a prescription is punishable by three years imprisonment and/or a fine of no more than 60,000 baht.

The FDA made the statement after a 25 year old man shot and seriously injured his friend in Bangkok on August 11 after taking Rohypnol. The young man apparently took Rohypnol recreationally “all the time” until he began having hallucinations and displaying violent behaviour.

SOURCE: Thai PBS, สรยุทธ สุทัศนะจินดา กรรมกรข่าว

Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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