Whether by the name Rohypnol, roofies, or another term, most people have heard of the drug. However, few people know much about flunitrazepam. To stay safe, anyone considering using the Rohypnol drug should fully understand what it is.
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Rohypnol Street Names
Rohypnol is the brand name of flunitrazepam. While it is not available in pharmacies in the United States, it is sold as a prescription medication in other countries under various names, including Inveron and Normador. Generic Rohypnol is simply called flunitrazepam.
Rohypnol drug is better known by its street names. These street names for Rohypnol include:
- The date-rape drug
- Forget me drug
- Forget Pill
- La Rocha
- Lunch Money Drug
- Mexican Valium
- Rochas Dos
Rohypnol nicknames are constantly changing and evolving to keep the use of the drug hidden. As such, it is not always possible to tell if someone is discussing the drug or not.
Is Rohypnol Legal?
In the United States, roofies are illegal. It is not approved for medical use by the FDA at the moment and has not been since 1996 when it was outlawed due to its connections with sexual assaults. As a result, any version of the drug sold on the street in the US was either made where Rohypnol is legal or it was made in a clandestine lab.
Because there is no government control over the roofies sold in the US, buying Rohypnol is incredibly risky. It is possible that the product sold will not be what is promised, or if made at a home lab, could deliver a higher flunitrazepam dose than is safe to consume. On top of the higher risk of overdose, anyone using or in possession of roofies can be arrested and imprisoned for the crime.
Rohypnol Drug Classification
Part of understanding what flunitrazepam is requires knowing how the drug is classified. It is given various classifications based on Rohypnol effects on the body and how it is viewed through a legal lens. Knowing the Rohypnol classification can help make the risks clearer to those considering using the drug.
One of the ways drugs are classified is by their schedule. Rohypnol is categorized as a Schedule IV substance. This means that it is seen as having the potential for abuse and addiction, but not as much as higher schedule drugs. It also means that the DEA acknowledges that, despite it not being cleared for medical use in the United States, there are therapeutic applications for the medication.
Despite the Rohypnol drug class not being very high on the DEA drug schedule, the penalties for possessing or using it remain steep. Users should not consider its low ranking to mean that using flunitrazepam is without significant legal risks.
Is Rohypnol A Stimulant?
What kind of drug Rohypnol is happens to be benzodiazepine. Also known as benzos, these drugs are used to treat conditions such as severe anxiety. Stimulants increase body functions and make a person more alert and energetic, which is the opposite of what benzos do. As such, roofies are not a stimulant.
Is Rohypnol A Depressant?
Like all medications in the Rohypnol drug category, roofies are a depressant. Flunitrazepam’s depressant effects include:
- Muscle relaxation
- A feeling of goodwill
- Lowered anxiety
- A lack of inhibition
- Impaired reaction time
- Slowed respiration and heart rate
Due to how it acts on the body, it is clear that Rohypnol is a depressant.
Rohypnol: Date-Rape Drug
One of the effects flunitrazepam can have is amnesia. It is because of this side effect that criminals sometimes employ roofies as a date-rape drug. In fact, its use is so common and so well-known, few people in the United States are aware of Rohypnol as anything other than a date-rape drug.
Why Is Rohypnol A Date-Rape Drug?
When used to facilitate a sexual assault, roofies are often dropped into drinks, hidden in food, or given to a person after telling them it is a different drug. Because it can dissolve quickly and does not alter the odor, color, or flavor of the substance it is mixed with, victims cannot detect it.
The initial effects of this substance tend to mimic those of alcohol use, so victims tend to dismiss them as simply being tipsy or drunk.
The effects of the date-rape drug Rohypnol begin within about 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion. Because part of what roofies do is making users lose their inhibitions, the victims often appear to be going along with the person intending to assault them. Depending on the dose, they can lose control of their bodies and experience a paralysis effect, unable to move or speak, leaving them defenseless.
When these effects are combined with memory loss, use of the date-rape drug roofies makes it easy for criminals to get away with sexual assaults.
Statistics On Rohypnol-Related Crimes
Rohypnol date-rape statistics paint a scary picture. However, the truth is likely even worse. Because of how roofies act on the body, many victims believe that they were not drugged, just drunk, and may not realize they were assaulted or may believe they acted consensually. As such, the use of flunitrazepam as a date-rape drug is likely much higher than reported.
Approximately 5 percent of people reporting date rapes to the police test positive for the presence of date-rape drugs, with roofies being the biggest culprit. However, this only accounts for assaults that are both reported to the police and where the presence of date-rape drugs are tested for. The actual rate of use is undoubtedly higher, given that less than one-third of all rapes are ever reported to law enforcement.
When looking at self-reporting, the statistics are much higher. Fifty-six percent of women report having had their drinks spiked at least once. Twenty-three percent of those women indicate they were unable to tell what their drink was spiked with, while 14 percent indicated that it was with sedatives like roofies. Ultimately, Rohypnol rape statistics are likely just scratching the surface of the truth.
There are steps people can take to protect themselves against being roofied. However, these are not fool-proof. As such, everyone should know the symptoms of roofies, allowing them to hopefully realize what has happened to them while they still have the chance to seek help.
Rohypnol symptoms that can occur when being secretly drugged include:
- feeling drunk without drinking alcohol or feeling drunk on less alcohol than it would usually take
- experiencing a Rohypnol high
- struggling with speech
- trouble with coordination
- nausea and vomiting, especially if drugged with a very high dose
- the sudden desire to do things one otherwise would not
- struggles with recalling basic information, such as name, address, and age
The problem with recognizing roofies symptoms is that they so closely mimic alcohol intoxication that as long as the victim was drinking, they are unlikely to think anything is amiss, beyond a strong drink.
Roofies In Drinks
Out of the various ways a criminal can use roofies on a victim, the easiest and most common way is through spiking drinks. This is because the medication can be crushed into a powder that dissolves quickly and is undetectable.
Criminals can use Rohypnol in any drink, even water. However, it is more common to try to mix Rohypnol and alcohol because when combined, the two substances potentiate each other, making the effects of each stronger. This results in someone who is easier to manipulate and experiences the effects faster.
Guarding Against Getting Roofied
It is an unfortunate fact that people have to take steps to avoid being roofied. However, there are ways people can make it less likely to happen to them. Some steps that can be taken include:
- If at a bar, always watch the bartender pour the drink.
- When possible, stick to bottled drinks and have them opened in sight.
- Never leave a drink unattended and cover the top whenever possible.
- Do not accept drinks from strangers.
- Avoid asking others to watch drinks to keep them safe.
Thanks to technological developments, there are some more creative ways that people can protect themselves as well. For example, there is Rohypnol-detecting nail polish. With Rohypnol nail polish on, the user dips a finger into their drink, and if the polish changes color, it has been spiked. It is better to prevent spiking rather than do a Rohypnol test later.
Is Rohypnol Addictive?
Thought it is most well-known as a date-rape drug, roofies are also used just to get high. Because it is a Schedule IV drug, people tend to assume that flunitrazepam is not highly addictive. However, roofies are addictive, and those who abuse it even on occasion can quickly pick up a habit.
Rohypnol addiction can be both physical and mental. Depending on how frequently it is used and in what doses, users can experience significant withdrawal symptoms. Anyone who feels addicted to or dependent upon flunitrazepam should seek out a drug rehabilitation clinic with experience treating benzo addiction.
Rohypnol has a high abuse potential because it produces the same effects as other benzodiazepines, but they tend to both be stronger and last much longer. As such, anyone who is attracted to using sedatives to get high can easily be lured into Rohypnol abuse.
It is important that people can recognize the signs of Rohypnol abuse in their loved ones, as anyone using the drug will need help getting clean safely. Signs include:
- Symptoms of drunkenness without other signs of alcohol use
- Exhaustion or stupor
- Changes in behavior
- Refusal to answer questions about where they have been and what they have been doing
- Unexplained absence from school or work
- Sudden financial problems
- Severe withdrawal symptoms
Anyone exhibiting these signs is in dire need of help from a drug rehabilitation center.
When someone has been using flunitrazepam heavily or over an extended period, they can expect to experience Rohypnol withdrawal when their use stops. Withdrawal symptoms of Rohypnol are unpleasant and can become dangerous in certain situations.
Rohypnol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme mood fluctuations
- Recurring, severe headaches
- Respiratory and cardiac irregularities
Because these symptoms can be dangerous, anyone wanting to get clean should not attempt it alone, rather seek professional drug abuse treatment.
Stopping Flunitrazepam Use
Rohypnol is a powerful drug, with the potential to ruin users’ lives. Everyone should be cautious about taking drinks from strangers, as well as newer leave own ones off-hand. Additionally, it is possible to get high on the drug. Even recreational use poses dangers of abuse and addiction. If any signs of these are observed, with a drug rehabilitation center that knows how to work with benzodiazepine users, a person can stop drug use and live a better life.
- The United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Rohypnol. 2017. https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/rohypnol.
- Negrusz A., Juhascik M., Gaensslen R. E. Estimate Of The Incidence Of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault In The U.S. University of Illinois at Chicago. 2005. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/212000.pdf.