The Development of Benzodiazepines

Research into the pharmacology and chemistry of barbiturates led in 1957 to the discovery of benzodiazepines.  These were again based on barbituric acid but were considered safer than barbiturates.  Benzodiazepines have now replaced barbiturates for almost all treatments except anaesthesia.  Unfortunately, like barbiturates, these drugs are highly addictive even if they are only used for a short time.  Commonly known benzodiazepines include Valium (diazepam) and Rohypnol (flunitrazepam.)

A ball and stick model of valium.




Rohypnol is also known as "the date-rape drug".  A tablet can be dropped into a victims drink causing them to become drowsy and to lose them memory of any subsequent events.  This makes it hard for the perpetrators of the crime to ever be convicted as the victim won't be able to remember exactly what happened to them.