Overview

Rohypnol ® is a trade name for flunitrazepam, a central nervous system (CNS) depressant
that belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Flunitrazepam is also marketed as generic preparations and other trade name products. Like other benzodiazepines, Rohypnol ® produces sedative hypnotic, anti-anxiety, and muscle relaxant effects. This drug has never been approved for medical use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. Outside the United States, Rohypnol ® is commonly prescribed to treat insomnia. Rohypnol ® is also referred to as a “date rape” drug.

Street names

Circles, Forget Pill, Forget- Me-Pill, La Rocha, Lunch Money Drug, Mexican Valium, Pingus, R2, Reynolds, Roach, Roach 2, Roaches, Roachies, Roapies, Robutal, Rochas Dos, Rohypnol, Roofies, Rophies, Ropies, Roples, Row-Shay, Ruffies, Wolfies, Kakelenda.

Looks like

Prior to 1997, Rohypnol ® was manufactured as a white tablet (0.5-2 milligrams per tablet), and when mixed in drinks, was colorless, tasteless, and odorless. In 1997, the manufacturer responded to concerns about the drug’s role in sexual assaults by reformulating the drug. Rohypnol ® is now manufactured as an oblong olive green tablet with a speckled blue core that when dissolved in light-colored rinks will dye the liquid blue. However, generic versions of the drug may not contain the blue dye.

Methods of abuse

The tablet can be swallowed whole, crushed and snorted, or dissolved in liquid. Adolescents may abuse Rohypnol ® to produce a euphoric effect often described as a “high.” While high, they experience reduced inhibitions and impaired judgment. Rohypnol ® is also abused in combination with alcohol to produce an exaggerated intoxication. In addition, abuse of Rohypnol ® may be associated with multiple-substance abuse. For example, cocaine addicts may use benzodiazepines such as Rohypnol ® to relieve the side effects (e.g., irritability and agitation) associated with cocaine binges. Rohypnol ® is also misused to physically and psychologically incapacitate women targeted for sexual assault. The drug is usually placed in the alcoholic drink of an unsuspecting victim to incapacitate them and prevent resistance to sexual assault. The drug leaves the victim unaware of what has happened to them.

Effect on body

Rohypnol ® causes muscle relaxation. Adverse physical effects include slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, weakness, headache, and respiratory depression. Rohypnol ® also can produce physical dependence when taken regularly over a period of time.

Drugs causing similar effects

Drugs that cause similar effects include GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) and other benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (e.g., Xanax ® ), clonazepam (e.g., Klonopin ® ), and diazepam (e.g., Valium ® ).

Overdose effects

High doses of Rohypnol ® particularly when combined with CNS depressant drugs (e.g., alcohol and heroin) can cause severe sedation, unconsciousness, slow heart rate, and suppression of respiration which may be sufficient to result in death.