Flunitrazepam: more than a date rape drug

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2000 Feb;13(1):37-42. doi: 10.1016/s1083-3188(99)00038-8.


Study objective: To evaluate the independent relationship between depressive symptoms. self-esteem. and drug resistance self-efficacy, and future intentions to use flunitrazepam.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Community-based family planning clinics.

Participants: 865 sexually active women who self-identified as Caucasian. African-American. or Mexican American. denied using flunitrazepam in the last 12 months and reported intentions to use or not use this substance in the next 12 months.

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measure: An anonymous self-report measure assessed the patient's intentions to use flunitrazepam in the next 12 months: other lifetime drug use: and standardized measures of depression. self-esteem, and drug resistance self-efficacy. We hypothesized that future potential users of flunitrazepam would exhibit an increased number of depressive symptoms, lowered self-esteem, and limited drug resistance self-efficacy.

Results: Of the 865 subjects. 16 (1.8%) reported using flunitrazepam in their lifetime but not in the last 12 months. and 46 (5.3%) were identified as potential users. Logistic regression analyses controlling for confounding factors found that potential to use flunitrazepam was significantly associated with limited drug resistance self-efficacy (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 9.3) and the presence of both severe depressive symptoms and lowered self-esteem (AOR = 3.2).

Conclusions: These data suggest that young women with severe depressive symptoms and diminished self-esteem are at high risk for future flunitrazepam use and may use this drug to self-medicate psychological distress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Flunitrazepam / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Logistic Models
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Concept
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self Medication*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Flunitrazepam