The dangers of Rohypnol were highlighted by authorities on Tuesday after a Bangkok used-car dealer was killed in a drug-fuelled shooting rampage.
Thanapon Anusornchaicharoen, 28, was caught in a hail of bullets at his rented home in Petchthaweesuk Village in the western suburbs on the night of August 11. Police found dozens of bullet casings at the scene of the crime, attesting to a frenzied attack.
On Monday, they arrested the main suspect, Meen Parasingh or “Mos Klong Kwang”, 25. Police said investigations indicated Meen was a regular user of Rohypnol, known locally as “ya lin fah” or blue-tongue drug for its effect when chewed.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday said that Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) is a controlled psychoactive drug that must be only prescribed by physicians. Doctors must report to the FDA before prescribing these drugs, FDA deputy secretary-general Surachoke Tangwiwat said.
“Rohypnol has a sleep-inducing effect similar to Alprazolam, so it’s mostly prescribed by psychiatrists,” he added.
Rohypnol is also given to patients as a sedative before surgery, Kasetsart University lecturer Weerachai Phutdhawong pointed out.
It is also used as “date-rape drug”, often slipped into alcoholic drinks to boost its effects.
Hence, the drug’s manufacturers had changed the formulation so that Rohypnol pills turn liquid blue and leave sediment at the bottom of the glass, he said.
“However, when drug addicts consume this drug, the colour shows on their tongues instead,” he added.