Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Dr. Alberto Solà

You’ve probably heard of Rohypnol is commonly known as the date rape drug. Although many sexual predators use this drug to incapacitate unsuspecting victims for sexual assault purposes, some people use this drug recreationally as well. Originally developed to treat insomnia, Rohypnol has never been approved for this use in the United States, although it is commonly prescribed in other countries for that purpose. Still, some people in the United States use this drug for nefarious purposes or simply to get high. Read on to learn more about it.

What is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is the brand name of a drug that’s actually called flunitrazepam. This drug is a benzodiazepine, and like other drugs in that category, its primary effects are sedative-hypnotic, anti-anxiety, and muscle relaxant. It’s no surprise, then, that Rohypnol is often prescribed abroad for insomnia and anxiety, and that it’s very effective in treating those conditions.

As you can probably guess, when this drug is used in large quantities, the above effects are magnified. People who use Rohypnol as a recreational drug seek out these effects and enjoy the euphoric feelings that it provides. Individuals who use Rohypnol on unsuspecting victims for sexual assault or robbery purposes do so because their victims are unable to move to fight back, and in some cases, may even forget altogether that a horrible experience happened to them.

Legal Status and Controversy

Because Rohypnol is not FDA-approved, it’s illegal to possess or use in the United States, unless of course someone to whom it is prescribed is traveling in our country. Because of this fact, this drug is somewhat controversial. Some doctors feel that it should be legal in the United States because it could be a great help to their patients. However, experts at the FDA worry that if it was made legal by prescription in the United States that its negative applications would become far more widespread.

How Rohypnol Is Used and Misused 

People who use Rohypnol as directed in other countries where it’s legal report that it is a great help to them. It’s extremely effective for its intended purposes. It slows down the functioning of a user’s central nervous system which quickly leads to drowsiness and soon, deep sleep. 

On the other hand, when this drug is misused, people seek out the same effects as when it is used properly – they simply seek them out at a level that is far magnified. Effects of Rohypnol also include slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, weakness, and respiratory depression. These are the effects that both recreational users and people using Rohypnol to drug other people seek. They either want to experience these effects themselves, or they want to force these effects on others so they can take advantage of them without much resistance. 

Prevention of Misuse

The main way that misuse is prevented in the United States is the fact that this drug is not prescribed at all. The lack of accessibility of this drug to most people has certainly saved many lives. However, as with all drugs, people who want to find Rohypnol find it anyway in many cases.

In countries where Rohypnol is available, it’s most commonly available in tablet form. These tablets can be swallowed whole, can be crushed and snorted, or can be dissolved in liquid for drinking. There are time release versions of the tablets available, but most people who use Rohypnol recreationally remove the time release coating before consuming. Still, this is one strategy pharmaceutical companies have used to prevent misuse.

When combined with alcohol or other drugs, the effects of Rohypnol are magnified. When added to someone’s alcoholic beverage at a bar, the unsuspecting victim not only may not even taste the addition, but they may suddenly feel more intoxicated than they might expect for the amount of alcohol they have consumed. Unfortunately, hundreds if not thousands of people are drugged in bars and other environments against their will each year using Rohypnol. The effects of this drug are typically felt within 15 to 20 minutes and may last as long as 12 hours, although most people feel the effects for four to six hours.

In 1997, manufacturers of Rohypnol reformulated the drug in a way that it will turn clear drinks blue when added. However, many people using the drug to drug people add it to colorful, tropical drinks to make it less noticeable.

To avoid being a victim of Rohypnol against your will, it’s crucial that you remain vigilant and keep an eye on your drinks at all times when drinking alcohol in a public place. Some entrepreneurs have recently developed products to help people stay safe in these environments, such as straws that change color when a drink is drugged, or covers to use to cover beverages ordered at a bar or other event so that no drug may be added without great difficulty.

Effects of Rohypnol

The effects of Rohypnol are numerous. Although it is classified as a depressant, it has some stimulant effects also. For the most part, people who use Rohypnol find that it primarily causes drowsiness, dizziness, loss of motor control, decreased reaction time, and impaired judgement. It also can cause slurred speech, confusion, amnesia, and stomach disturbances. Occasionally, and most often when combined with other drugs, it can result in aggression, excitability, or even respiratory distress.

Some of these effects are intended and others are simply inconvenient. Others, however, can be dangerous – especially if someone has unintentionally consumed the drug. 

Recovery and Support

Rohypnol is abused by people from all walks of life. People who are prescribed the drug may soon find that they have become dependent on it and may find stopping or decreasing use to be difficult. If this is the case for you, talk to your doctor about tapering off the drug. It may be dangerous to cease use suddenly; sudden cessation can lead to benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome which can lead to seizures, psychosis, and severe anxiety. Rebound insomnia may also occur.

People who use Rohypnol as a recreational drug may also find that they quickly become addicted. These individuals also should not quit the drug suddenly but should rather see professional help to stop using gradually. The most common group of people who abuse Rohypnol are men and boys between the ages of 13 and 30, but anyone can be affected.

Whether you are someone living outside of the United States who has been prescribed Rohypnol and feel that you have become dependent on it, or if you are someone who uses Rohypnol on a recreational basis and believe you have become addicted to it, there is help available for you. People can and do break free from addictions of all kinds and Rohypnol addiction is no exception. However, you will likely need to seek addiction recovery treatment to safely end your dependency under a doctor’s supervision. Again, quitting cold turkey can be dangerous – you’ll need to taper off the drug.

If you are struggling with dependency or addiction to Rohpynol, we can help. At our ibogaine treatment center, we are standing by to help you break free from your addictions and to find the root of the problems that led to them in the first place. Our facility in Cancun, Mexico, is staffed with people who are experienced in addiction recovery services, and our innovative ibogaine treatment has helped many before you. We are standing by to answer any questions you have and we can’t wait to hear from you. Please contact us today.


How addictive is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is considered to be highly addictive. Its use can lead to physical dependence and addiction, with users developing tolerance and experiencing withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it.

What are common street names for Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is known by various street names, largely due to its reputation as a “date rape” drug. Common street names for Rohypnol include: Roofies, R2, Roofenol, Roche, Roachies, La Rocha, Rope, Rib, Circles, Mexican Valium, Roach-2, Roopies, Ropies, Forget-me pill, Trip-and-Fall and Mind Erasers.

Why is Rohypnol banned?

Rohypnol is banned in many countries due to its association with crimes, particularly sexual assault, because it induces deep sedation and amnesia, making victims unable to remember events or identify assailants.