Rohypnol (Roofies): What It Is and Its Side Effects (Long- & Short-Term)
Rohypnol is the brand name for the benzodiazepine, flunitrazepam. Like other benzodiazepines, this sedative-hypnotic can be prescribed to treat some medical conditions; for example, it’s used as a short-term treatment for chronic insomnia. Rohypnol also has a high risk of misuse and addiction. It is not approved for use in the United States.
Rohypnol is known for becoming one of the most widely used date rape drugs since it can be mixed into beverages and is undetectable. It is 10 times more potent than diazepam (Valium), which is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine medication.
Rohypnol is also known as a “club drug” because many young adults misuse it in raves or club environments. They misuse it for its intoxicating effects, such as euphoria and relaxation. They may combine it with other drugs, which increases the risk of experiencing harmful consequences.
What Is Rohypnol?
Rohypnol is the trade name for the drug flunitrazepam, a medication used to treat severe insomnia in some countries, though it is not legal in the United States. It’s a part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs along with Valium and Xanax. It produces a strong feeling of sedation and anterograde amnesia, meaning that people often don’t remember what happened while they were on the drug.
Like most drugs, Rohypnol use comes with a number of side effects, some of which are dangerous. The risk of experiencing adverse effects increases when the drug is misused, which is common. The effects are particularly concerning when Rohypnol is combined with other depressants, such as alcohol.
Other Names for Rohypnol (Roofies)
There are several street names that rohpynol goes by, and some of the most common include:
- Forget-me drug.
- La Rocha.
- Mexican Valium.
- Roach 2.
Side Effects of Rohypnol (Roofies)
- Amnesia (memory problems) and blackouts.
- Impaired reaction time and poor coordination.
- Slurred speech.
- Slow breathing and heart rate.
Sedation, reduced reaction time, and impaired judgment, while being mild effects when the individual stays at home, can become quite dangerous if the intoxicated individual operates heavy machinery, including vehicles. Many car accidents have been caused by people choosing to drive while impaired by drugs like Rohypnol.
In some cases, individuals may experience paradoxical effects—effects that are opposite than those typical of Rohypnol use, such as:
Severe Health Effects & Risks of Rohypnol
In high doses, Rohypnol can produce a number of very dangerous effects. The threat of hazardous effects increases whenever the drug is misused, which includes mixing it with other substances, such as alcohol.
Rohypnol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning that it slows down the respiratory system and heart rate. If the individual takes a high dose or mixes it with other depressants, this can result in profound respiratory depression. This respiratory depression can result in oxygen deprivation. If this happens, Rohypnol’s effects on the brain can include brain damage or death, either of which can occur if the person doesn’t receive immediate medical attention.
Another unfortunate effect of Rohypnol is amnesia. Due to the combination of sedation and anterograde amnesia, Rohypnol has been known for its use as a “date rape drug.” Rohypnol, which is sometimes called “roofies,” can be slipped into a drink and because this drug is odorless, tasteless, and dissolves in liquid, it will go undetected by the victim.
The incapacitated victim can then be sexually assaulted and often wakes up with little to no memory of what happened to them. When Rohypnol is combined with alcohol, the incapacitating effects are even more profound, making it easier for predators to move the victim to a preferable location and sexually assault them.
Mixing Rohypnol With Other Drugs
As previously mentioned, Rohypnol is a central nervous system depressant, which means when it is combined with other sedative-hypnotics, the sedating effects will be compounded.
For example, roofies are often slipped into alcoholic drinks in bars, parties, or clubs. Since alcohol is a depressant, it can interact with Rohypnol by producing:
- Severe sedation.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Slowed heart rate and breathing, which can lead to death.
But alcohol isn’t the only concern. Mixing Rohypnol with other CNS depressants also increases the risk of coma and death.
Can You Overdose on Rohypnol?
Yes, you can overdose on Rohypnol. This substance is far more potent than other benzos, like Valium, which means that it carries a very high risk of overdose. If a person ingests Rohypnol for nonmedical reasons, like when getting high, they are at risk of experiencing an overdose. Rohypnol’s association with date rape means it is closely associated with alcohol consumption; mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines increases the risk of overdose.
Symptoms of overdose include:
- Extreme fatigue or sleepiness.
- Mental confusion.
- Reduced reflexes.
- Loss of coordination.
- Respiratory arrest.
What Harm Does Rohypnol Do to the Body?
People are likely to experience serious physical effects from ingesting Rohypnol, either alone or in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Effects in the body include:
- Low blood pressure.
- Reduced, irregular, shallow, or depressed breathing.
- Drowsiness and relaxation.
- Loss of physical coordination.
- Physical weakness.
- Tremors or twitching.
- Cardiovascular collapse.
In addition to dangerous physical side effects, it is possible to become dependent on, tolerant to, or addicted to Rohypnol. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which can include seizures, extreme anxiety, hallucinations, and more.
Rohypnol Withdrawal Symptoms
Once a person’s Rohypnol high begins to dissipate, they may begin to experience acute withdrawal symptoms, which are commonly referred to as the “comedown.” Rohypnol became popular as a drug to ease a person’s comedown from stimulant drugs, like crack cocaine or methamphetamine.
However, Rohypnol itself has many distressing withdrawal symptoms related to coming off the drug. People who have ingested Rohypnol have reported the following comedown symptoms, which are similar to other benzos or alcohol:
- Muscle pain.
- Numbness and tingling.
- Hallucinations or delirium.
What Forms Does Rohypnol Come In?
Flunitrazepam primarily comes in the form of a pill. Originally, the drug was manufactured as a white tablet, but due to concerns about it being used as a date rape drug, Rohypnol now comes as an olive-green pill with blue speckles at its core.
The blue interior dyes light-colored drinks blue, so a person will know if their drink has been tampered with; however, generic versions of flunitrazepam may not take this precaution.
Rohypnol Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to Rohypnol or any other addictive substance, reach out to us right now. Our inpatient drug & alcohol rehab facility in New Jersey offers several levels of care that can help you or your loved one overcome the challenges associated with substance use disorder.
Call us today at to be connected with one of our rehab admissions navigators who can help answer all of your questions, including what to expect upon arrival, how to pay for rehab, and if your insurance can help cover costs of care.
Do not wait any longer. Contact us right now to get the help you deserve.
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