WHAT IS ROHYPNOL?
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 outside of the United States.
Like other benzodiazepines, Rohypnol produces sedativehypnotic,
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.
WHAT IS ITS ORIGIN?
Rohypnol is smuggled into the United States from other
countries, such as Mexico.
What are common street names?
Common street names include:
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, and Wolfies
What does it look 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
drinks will dye the liquid blue. However, generic versions of the
drug may not contain the blue dye.
How is it abused?
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 used in combination with alcohol to produce an
In addition, abuse of Rohypnol may be associated with
multiple-substance abuse. For example, cocaine users 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 victims 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.
What is its effect on the mind?
Like other benzodiazepines, Rohypnol slows down the functioning
of the CNS producing:
Drowsiness (sedation), sleep (pharmacological hypnosis),
decreased anxiety, and amnesia (no memory of events while
under the influence of the substance)
Rohypnol can also cause:
Increased or decreased reaction time, impaired mental functioning
and judgment, confusion, aggression, and excitability
What is its effect on the body?
Rohypnol causes muscle relaxation. Adverse physical effects
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.
What are its overdose effects?
High doses of Rohypnol, particularly when combined with CNS
depressant drugs such as alcohol and heroin, can cause severe
sedation, unconsciousness, slow heart rate, and suppression of
respiration that may be sufficient to result in death.
Which drugs cause 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).
What is its legal status in the United States?
Rohypnol is a Schedule IV substance under the Controlled
Substances Act. Rohypnol is not approved for manufacture,
sale, use, or importation to the United States. It is legally
manufactured and marketed in many countries.
Penalties for possession, trafficking, and distribution involving one gram or
more are the same as those of a Schedule I drug.
SOURCE: A DEA Resource Guide 2017 Edition