Rohypnol or Roofies Fast Facts

Flunitrazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative marketed by Roche under the trade name Rohypnol.
Flunitrazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative marketed by Roche under the trade name Rohypnol. It is sometimes known as the date rape drug or by the street name of roofies. Ben Mills

Learn the basics of rohypnol, how it's made, and the risks associated with using the drug.

What Is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is the trade name for Flunitrazepam, a drug that acts as a sedative, muscle relaxant, hypnotic, and antidepressant. While Flunitrazepam is called Rohypnol when marketed by Roche, it is also sold by other companies under the names Darkene, Flunipam, Flunitrazepam, Fluscand, Hipnosedon, Hypnodorm, Ilman, Insom, Nilium, Silece, and Vulbegal.

Rohypnol may be taken as a pill or the pill may be crushed and snorted or added to a food or drink.

What Does Rohypnol Look Like?

Rohypnol is available as a pill, though the pill may be crushed and mixed into food or drinks or it may be dissolved in liquid and injected. The present form of the drug is imprinted with 542 and supplied as a 1-milligram dose in an olive green, oblong tablet which contains a blue dye that is supposed to be visible if the drug is added to a drink. Before that, Rohypnol was sold as a white 2-milligram tablet.

Why Do People Use Rohypnol?

As a prescription medication, Rohypnol is used as a preanesthetic medication and as a short term treatment for insomnia. It may be used to treat the depression resulting from use of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other stimulants.

As a recreational drug, Rohypnol (roofies) may be seen at nightclubs, parties, and raves. The drug has been used in connection with rape and robbery to incapacitate the victim and prevent him or her from recalling the crime.

Rohypnol may be used to commit suicide.

What Are the Effects of Rohypnol Use?

The effects of Rohypnol use may be felt within 15 to 20 minutes of administration and may last for over 12 hours. Symptoms associated with use of Rohypnol include drowsiness, lowered blood pressure, muscle relaxation, headache, visual disturbances, dizziness, slurred speech, poor reaction time, confusion, memory impairment, upset stomach, retention of urine, tremors, and nightmares.

One side effect associated with Rohypnol use is retroactive amnesia, where the person who took the drug can't remember events that occurred while under the influence of the drug. Although Rohypnol is a depressant, it may produce excitability, talkativeness, or aggressive behavior. Overdose of Rohypnol produces sedation, impaired speech and balance, respiratory depression, and potentially coma or death.

Why Is Rohypnol Illegal in the United States?

It is illegal to manufacture, sell, or use Rohypnol in the United States because taking it can produce physiological and psychological dependence and benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. The drug is legal in other countries (e.g., Mexico) and is smuggled into the US through the mail or other delivery services.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Rohypnol or Roofies Fast Facts." ThoughtCo, Mar. 7, 2017, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, March 7). Rohypnol or Roofies Fast Facts. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Rohypnol or Roofies Fast Facts." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 21, 2018).