Rohypnol - Dangers & Potential for Abuse. What is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is a type of benzodiazepine that has similar properties to that of Valium (aka Diazepam) but is 10 times stronger.

Due to its potency, it is only generally used as a premedication in preparation for surgical procedures, and it can also be used for anaesthesia.

Generic name


Brand name


Street names and Slang terms 

Forget me the drug, Date rape drug, Roofies, Forget me pill, Mexican valium, Wolfies, Circles, Mind eraser, R2, Rope, Roaches and Roapies.

What is Rohypnol?

Over the years, Rohypnol has been commonly referred to as the ‘date rape’ drug. It has earned this dark reputation due to it being used to spike the drinks of people in clubs and bars.

It is tasteless and has no smell and takes effect within a relatively short space of time, rendering a person powerless over events that take place whilst they are intoxicated.

detox addiction

The onset of effects starts approximately 15 to 20 minutes after ingestion. When injected the onset of effects are almost immediate.

Due to this drug having strong amnesic properties, someone who unknowingly takes it or abuses it will have little recall of events that take place whilst under its influence.

If you have an addiction or dependence to the drug,  you will require a full medical detox to ensure that you stop the drug safely and comfortably.

Call Detox Plus UK today to find out how our bespoke addiction treatment programmes can help you or a loved one to break free from abuse and addiction permanently.

Where and how to get Rohypnol

Rohypnol is a prescription-only benzodiazepine medication, commonly issued under the brand name of Flunitrazepam.

Prescribing guidelines are for anaesthesia within a hospital setting or for a concise term and the occasional basis for those that have chronic insomnia. It can also be used to prevent and stop seizures (1)

Due to the powerful sedative effects and potential for abuse, it is rarely prescribed outside of hospital environments. Many other, less addictive and less potent prescription medications would be considered a far safer alternative by general practitioners.

Sadly, like most controlled prescription drugs Rohypnol can be purchased illicitly from the dark web and street dealers. It is this method of obtaining Rohypnol that leads to the most misuse and abuse.

Drug classification in the UK

Flunitrazepam is a Class C controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Possession without a legitimate prescription is illegal.

Supply without legal authority (as with all Class C controlled medications) is also illegal and can carry a hefty fine and/or up to a maximum of 14 years imprisonment (2)

The effects of Rohypnol

Rohypnol has strong sedative and amnesic properties. This makes it sought-after for abuse.

The effects include:

  • Powerful sedation
  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Prevention of convulsions
  • Slowed breathing
  • Amnesia
  • Drowsiness

How it affects you as an individual can vary. The severity of these effects will be dependent on the dosage, your tolerance and the method of administration.

Adverse effects are much more likely to occur when it is mixed with alcohol or another drug. It can also have some paradoxical (adverse) effects, including:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of muscle control (feeling unable to move)
  • Decreased inhibitions
  • Loss of impulse control
  • Loss of memory of events occurring whilst under the influence
  • Violent behaviour
  • Seizures (3)

Effects can be felt the following day. If you have taken the drug, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery the following day until you know how it affects you as an individual.

WARNING: Mixing with alcohol, other sedative prescription drugs, opiates or other drugs can cause respiratory depression leading to overdose and death

How Rohypnol is abused

Rohypnol in prescription form comes in 1mg and 2mg tablets. Depending on the manufacturer the pills are usually available as white or an olive-green tablet.

Those that abuse the drug may mix it with alcohol for greater effects, crush the pills and sprinkle on cannabis and smoke it, crush the pills and dissolve in a drink and drink it, or inject it in a solution form.

Using drugs not prescribed for you, or obtaining it without a valid prescription is also classed as abuse.

 Abuse carries many dangers, including dependence, drug addiction, respiratory arrest, coma and death.

Rohypnol mixed with alcohol

Mixing with alcohol is a common method of abuse and misuse of this powerful benzodiazepine.

Both alcohol and Rohypnol are depressant drugs that suppress the central nervous system, mixed their effects become even more pronounced.

Regularly mixing with alcohol can lead to tolerance and dependence on both substances. In instances where this occurs, the individual affected will find themselves taking ever-increasing amounts to gain the desired effects.

Where Rohypnol or alcohol dependence, or dependence to both, has developed, it is not safe to stop taking any of the substances abruptly or without medical intervention and supervision.

Abrupt cessation where a dependence has developed can result in very severe, dangerous and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Uncontrolled withdrawal symptoms can kill, as can alcohol withdrawal. Please call us or speak to your doctor for advice before attempting to stop.

Withdrawal symptoms

As it is a benzodiazepine, its withdrawal symptoms will be very typical of other medications in that class.

As one of the stronger benzodiazepines available, withdrawal should be medically managed to ensure patient safety.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Aches and pains
  • Restlessness
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Drug craving 
  • Convulsions

Undergoing a full medical detox dependence will vastly reduce the severity of symptoms to a more comfortable and manageable level. It will also help to prevent the onset of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms and reduce the chances of developing PAWS post-acute withdrawal syndrome).

A bespoke rehabilitation programme should immediately follow any detox programme to prevent relapse.

Call Detox Plus UK today to find out more about our detox and rehabilitation programmes.

Rohypnol and Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault


Due to this drug’s powerful sedative and amnesic effects (loss of short-term memory), it has sadly become a choice for facilitating sexual assault. Other drugs commonly used to facilitate sexual assault include GHB and Ketamine.

Rohypnol and similar substances in a singular dosage can leave your system quite quickly. For detection and prosecution purposes, it is important to seek help from the police or your local emergency services as quickly as possible.

The police or your local A&E will also ensure that you have the protection and support that you need as well as assign you a support officer.

How long does Rohypnol stay in your system?

Many factors can affect how long Rohypnol stays in your system, including dosage, BMI, gender, method of administration, other drugs in your system and hydration levels.

The following can be used as a general guide to how long it stays in your system:

How long Rohypnol stays in your blood

Blood tests identifying its presence can pick up traces of the drug between 11 and 25 hours post-ingestion.

How long Rohypnol stays in your urine

Urine samples can detect metabolites between 60 hours and 28 days. The time frame is so wide as this depends on the dosage and method of administration.

How long Rohypnol stays in your hair and saliva

Hair strands and saliva tests can also be used to detect the presence in your system. Hair strand tests can detect the presence for up to 90 days (sometimes longer)post-ingestion (4)

Help for Rohypnol abuse and addiction

If you or a loved one have a problem with abuse, Detox Plus UK provide professional, effective and proven treatments to help you to recover.

Like any benzodiazepine medication, is extremely addictive and can easily lead to dependence and addiction.

Drug dependence and addiction are medically recognised conditions that require very specialist treatment and support to overcome.

Our CQC-registered drug treatment centres offer the highest standards of medical and therapeutic care. We tailor each of our treatment programmes to each person; we know that ‘one size fits all’ does not work when it comes to successfully treating any form of addiction.

Call us today for friendly, professional and helpful advice on treatment available near you.


  1. Prescribing guidelines for Rohypnol
  2. Rohypnol – Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  3.  Paradoxical effects of Rohypnol – Bramness JG, Skurtveit S, Mørland J (June 2006). “Flunitrazepam: psychomotor impairment, agitation and paradoxical reactions”. Forensic Science International. 159 (2–3): 83–91. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2005.06.009. PMID 16087304.
  4. How long Rohypnol stays in your system – Kiss, B et al. Assays for Flunitrazepam. Chapter 48 in Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse Volume 2: Stimulants, Club and Dissociative Drugs, Hallucinogens, Steroids, Inhalants and International Aspects. Editor, Victor R. Preedy. Academic Press, 2016 ISBN 9780128003756 Page 513ff

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