Updated on February 6, 2024
6 min read

What is Rohypnol?

Key Takeaways

Rohypnol is a powerful type of sedative. It comes in pill form that can produce relaxation, sleepiness, and euphoria.

Rophynol was originally developed to treat short-term insomnia and as a pre-medication anesthetic. However, it’s commonly used today for recreational purposes. It’s also abused for its psychoactive effects that give it the name “date rape” drug.

It’s critical to understand all aspects of Rohypnol to take prevention measures against abuse. This blog post discusses the drug’s uses, addiction potential, risks, overdose symptoms, and treatment.

Is Rohypnol Addictive?

As a benzodiazepine, Rohypnol has a high potential for addiction. Regularly using the drug can increase the chances of developing physical or psychological dependence. This is still the case even when you take low doses.

Mixing Rohypnol with alcohol to intensify its effects but will come at greater risks. If you've been using the drug regularly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms if and when you stop using it.


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What are Rohypnol Addiction Symptoms?

The signs of Rohypnol addiction may present physically. However, they can also be noticeable through behavioral changes.

Signs of addiction include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, headaches, or sweating, when stopping Rohypnol use
  • Strong drug cravings
  • Requiring a higher dose of the drug to produce the same high
  • Being secretive or on edge
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Stopping usual activities, like work or social outings
  • Ignoring the consequences of using the drug

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Can you Overdose on Rohypnol?

Yes, it’s possible to overdose on Rohypnol. This can be life-threatening, especially due to the risks of respiratory depression. The effects of the drug can intensify with depressants like alcohol or heroin.

What are Rohypnol Overdose Symptoms?

The signs of an overdose include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe sedation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Low heart rate
  • Non-responsiveness

If you or someone you know is overdosing on Rohypnol, contact emergency medical help immediately. Prompt medical attention can prevent severe complications and death.

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What are the Treatment Options for Rohypnol Addiction?

Addiction is a serious mental health issue. Fortunately, different treatments are available to support recovery.

Various forms of addiction treatment can cater to different needs. Available treatment options for Rohypnol addiction include:

You can also talk to your doctor about medications that can help reduce your cravings for the drug. They may prescribe medicines like Gabapentin, Bupropion, and Naltrexone, depending on your situation.

What is Rohypnol?

Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) is an immediate-acting benzodiazepine available by prescription in South America and Europe but not in the United States. It’s also known as Mexican valium. It’s an intermediate-acting sedative that belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

Its potency is about ten times that of diazepam.3

The drug slows down the central nervous system (CNS), which produces side effects like:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slower reaction time
  • Amnesia

Rohypnol has gained popularity as a club drug and "date rape drug." Because of its sedative and memory-impairing effects, some misuse the drug to commit sexual assault.

It has been used illegally to lessen the depression effects of other stimulants, such as cocaine. This example of polydrug use can come with dangerous adverse effects.

History and Legality

Rohypnol is a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Like other drugs in the Schedule IV category, Rohypnol isn’t approved for medical use in the U.S. 

Smugglers often import the drug from other countries, such as Mexico. However, some medical professionals may prescribe it to treat insomnia or anxiety in other parts of the world.

The street names for Rohypnol include:

  • Forget-Me-Pill
  • La Rocha
  • Roach
  • Ropies

Rohypnol has been commonly used to commit sexual assault. The so-called “date-rape drug” is placed unknowingly in the drinks of victims, often at a bar or party (“club drug”). Due to the strong amnesia produced by the drug, victims would have limited or no memory of the assault.

How is Rohypnol Used?

Rohypnol is available in tablet form. Manufacturers made it into a white tablet that was odorless and flavorless when dissolved in drinks. After its misuse in drug-assisted sexual assault cases, the drug now comes as a colored tablet.

You can take Rohypnol by:

  • Swallowing it as a pill
  • Drinking it after dissolving it in liquid
  • Grounding and then snorting it

How People Use Rohypnol as Date Rape Drug

People who misuse Rohypnol add it to an odorless, colorless liquid like alcohol. This way, the drug’s effects are harder to recognize, and perpetrators can easily commit sexual assaults.

When ingesting Rohypnol dissolved in a drink, you may experience side effects like being drunk. You also forget what happens due to the amnesia the drug causes.

What are the Side Effects of Rohypnol?

Rohypnol has similar sedative side effects to other benzodiazepines like Valium or Xanax. However, it can be difficult to recognize the signs of Rohypnol use. Users often consume this club drug in party environments where you can overlook its effects.

The possible side effects of the drug include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Reduced anxiety or inhibition
  • Impaired judgment
  • Aggression
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Poor coordination
  • Headache
  • Slowed breathing
  • Amnesia (memory loss)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Potential liver damage

The sedative effects of Rohypnol are almost ten times stronger than Valium. Its effects will appear as soon as 15 minutes after administration and can last for approximately 6 hours. Some cases report residual effects that last up to 12 hours after administration.7

Rohypnol, like other benzodiazepines, acts at the GABA receptor. It can produce anterograde amnesia, in which people may not remember events they experienced while under the influence of the drug.2


Rohypnol is a powerful sedative illegal in the U.S. for its high potential for abuse. It’s also commonly known as a “date rape” drug since it causes short-term amnesia following sexual assault.

If you find yourself compromised due to the drug’s effects, don’t hesitate to call for help immediately. Likewise, seek immediate medical help if you or someone you know is overdosing on the drug.

Reach out and get professional assistance if you're struggling with a Rohypnol addiction. Contact an addiction specialist or rehab facility to learn about treatment options and recovery support.

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Updated on February 6, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024
  1. U.S. Department of Justice. “Drugs of Abuse: A DEA Resource Guide.” Drug Enforcement Administration, 2017.

  2. Commonly Used Drugs Charts-Rohypnol.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2023.

  3. Weaver, M. “Prescription Sedative Misuse and Abuse.” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2015.

  4. Osayande et al. “Effects of Alcohol and Rohypnol Combination on the Liver Function of Adult Albino Rats.” American Journal of Chemistry and Materials Science, 2018.

  5. U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health [Internet].” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2016.

  6. Rohypnol Fast Facts.” U.S. Department of Justice.

  7. Rohypnol.” Drugs.com, 2023.

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