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Article Summary


Rohypnol is the brand name for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine very similar to Valium and Xanax but many times stronger than either. While Rohypnol is available in Europe and South America by prescription, it is not approved for use under any circumstances in the U.S. and it is against the law to manufacture, sell and even possess the drug in this country. Much like benzodiazepine drugs which are available by prescription in the U.S., Rohypnol is an intense sedative which can cause muscle relaxation, delayed psychomotor response and even amnesia in some cases. Once someone takes Rohypnol they can begin to feel the sedation in about 20 minutes, and this can last for several hours.

What Is Rohypnol?

In the U.S., Rohypnol is used illicitly by recreational users. The drug is easy to obtain and cheap, only casting a few dollars a pill, so it is popular among youth and in bars and night clubs as a "party drug". Rohypnol is also used in a much more sinister manner however, due to it sedating effects, especially when consumed with alcohol. Some individuals use Rohypnol in order to take advantage of other individuals sexually. The drug has therefore come to be known as the "date rape drug". Individuals who take Rohypnol alone or with alcohol may experience intense bouts of amnesia where there memory is completely blacked out for several hours.

Rohypnol is colorless and has no taste. So someone who wishes to use Rohypnol for sexual purposes may slip the drug into an unwitting person's drink with the intention of drugging them to the point where they won't remember anything regarding the sexual encounter. Victims of such incidents often wake up in strange places with no clothing, having no memory of how they got there. In most cases, it is obvious that some sort of sexual encounter has taken place, much to the dismay of the victim who would have never permitted such circumstances had they not been drugged by Rohypnol. The victim of such a rape will often recount first feeling drunk as the Rohypnol takes effect. In the later stages of an 8-12 hour blackout from the drug however, they may actually appear to be awake and alert but recall absolutely nothing from the incident. The day after such an incident, individuals who have been victimized by someone using Rohypnol on them will feel nauseous and disoriented.

Individuals, who believe they may have been given Rohypnol against their will and possibly raped because of this, can take an urine test to determine if the drug is in their system. Rohypnol remains in the system for a few days, so it is recommended that individuals who believe they have been raped contact the police or a rape crisis center immediately to seek assistance. Victims should know that an urine test that is performed without police intervention may not be permissible in court, due to the legalities involved and to avoid wrongful prosecution.

The Date Rape Drug

It is best to do everything by the book right away if an individual does think they were victimized by someone who used Rohypnol on them. If they did it once, they will very likely find another victim unless they are stopped. Rohypnol is illegal in the United States, and according to law giving someone any kind of illegal substance without their knowledge with the intention of committing a violent crime can result in serious prison time and fines. Individuals who do so can expect to be behind bars for as much as 20 years in some cases and pay up to $250,000 in fines. It is better to have such criminals in jail than committing such hideous acts against unwitting and unwilling victims.

There are certain rules and precautions which can be followed to prevent being drugged by Rohypnol by someone with the intention to commit rape. If you are in a bar or social setting and consuming alcohol, the most important thing is to never take your eye off your drink. If for some reason you do lose track of your drink, trash it and get another one. Even pay attention to who is making your drink, and ensure that the only thing going into your drink are it's intended ingredients. If someone walks up to you with a drink and offers it to you, only accept it if it's someone you know and trust.

Because anyone can be a victim of Rohypnol being used on them in such a sinister manner, it is always a good idea to be a part of a group when partying or going out. Especially for individuals in their youth who are more inclined to binge drink, having friends who can keep a close eye on each other and be close at hand can mean the difference between and fun night out and dire consequences such as described above. If someone is too inebriated to know what they are doing or where they are, they could be the next victim for someone who wants to take advantage of them sexually using Rohypnol.

As mentioned earlier Rohypnol is not just used as a date rape drug but by individuals who want to feel its sedative effects to get high. However, this is a very dangerous drug to toy around with and it has been implicated in many deaths in countries where it is legal and in the U.S. There's a reason that it isn't approved for any sort of medical use in the U.S. as a sedative, and there are many side effects and serious consequences which recreational users may not be aware of or prefer to ignore. These dangers and risks are due to its depressant effects which may result in slowed heart rate, severe sedation, unconsciousness, and respiratory depression to the point of death. Individuals who have become involved in recreational Rohypnol abuse should seek help immediately to avoid any of these consequences. It is also important to get help for Rohypnol detox, as this type of withdrawal can result in serious side effects and health risks if dependence has developed.

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