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Rohypnol, also known as Roofies, have become infamous as a date-rape drug. This has led the Benzodiazepine to be banned in the US. However, not only are people still obtaining the drug illegally, but they are using it recreationally.

What Is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol, better known as Roofies, is a Benzodiazepine that was first made in 1975 by Hoffman-La Roche. It was developed as a treatment for sleep disorders and as anesthesia for surgeries. Rohypnol, which can be dissolved in liquid, was popular for being odorless, tasteless, and colorless. Unfortunately, this is what propelled its use as a date-rape drug.

Today, Rohypnol is illegal in the US. Despite it being lumped in with other Schedule IV Benzos, the penalties that come with possession of 1 gram of it are more in line with Schedule I substances, like Heroin and LSD. While most people know Rohypnol as “Roofies,” the drug goes by dozens of names on the street. Some of them are:

  • Circles
  • Forget-Me-Pill
  • La Rocha
  • Mexican Valium
  • Pingus
  • R2
  • Reynolds
  • Roaches
  • Roapies
  • Roofies
  • Rophies
  • Row-Shay
  • Ruffies
  • Wolfies

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Effects Of Rohypnol

Rohypnol, as it was originally intended, tranquilizes the user. This can help them battle symptoms of insomnia or put them under for surgery in low doses. Rohypnol is similar in effect to Valium. The difference being is that Flunitrazepam, the generic name for Rohypnol, is 10 times more potent than Diazepam, the generic name for Valium. These general effects include:

  • Sedation
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Prevention of convulsions.

When Rohypnol is taken in higher doses, people may experience more severe side effects. This can result in loss of muscle control, anterograde and retrograde amnesia, lowered inhibitions, and falling unconscious. These effects can also come about in smaller doses if someone mixes the Benzo with alcohol.

Rohypnol As A Date-Rape Drug

Originally manufactured as an odorless and colorless tablet, this made it easy for someone to slip Rohypnol into another person’s drink. This turns the intermediate Benzodiazepine into an almost immediate knock out. Because of the reaction of Rohypnol and alcohol, the person consuming the mixture forgets what happens after. As a countermeasure, Hoffman-La Roche updated the pill to have blue dye in the core. Now, if the pill is dropped into a clear or light-colored liquid, it turns blue. However, the older, colorless pill is still available.

While the effects of Rohypnol mixed with alcohol are an obvious danger, many don’t realize that the drug is clear of the system within 72 hours. Due to the amnesia that this combination of intoxicants causes, many people who are victim to sexual assault can’t remember what happened until later. However, due to how quickly the drug leaves their system, there is little proof for them to go to the police with. While Hoffman-La Rocha has done something to make their product more easily detectable, there is still potential danger. One must always be vigilant, especially if a drink is left unattended.

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Rohypnol As A Recreational Drug

While the use of Rohypnol has become synonymous with sexual assault, there are still many people out there who abuse the drug for recreation. As a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant, Benzodiazepines produce similar effects to alcohol. This has made them highly addictive, and popular to abuse for many. Especially those who are getting over an addiction to alcohol. When paired together, however, alcohol and Benzos are even more potent. When people abuse Rohypnol repeatedly, they will build a tolerance overtime. This means that they’d require a larger dose to achieve the same effects. This is the first sign that someone is developing a dependency. Once this happens, if the person does not stop this behavior immediately, they will develop an addiction.

Addiction To Rohypnol

As with any Benzo, it is possible to become addicted to Rohypnol. Not only is it 10 times more potent than Valium, but it is a common drug to take with alcohol. Stacking intoxicants, especially those with similar effects, is not only dangerous but can be highly addictive. Growing accustomed to more than one substance at a time can make it hard for the body to cope without them. In the case of Rohypnol, someone going without the substance may feel similar effects to alcohol withdrawal, such as tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Other withdrawal symptoms may also include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Tension
  • Numbness
  • Loss of identity
  • Delirium
  • Shock
  • Seizures

Remember that overdose on Rohypnol is possible. Like any Benzodiazepine, if someone takes too much, they can slow their body down to the point of respiratory depression. While it may not result in death, not enough oxygen to the brain can cause permanent damage within minutes.

Treatment For Rohypnol Addiction

If you, or someone you love, suffer from an addiction to Rohypnol, or any substance, getting help as soon as possible is essential to recovery. Recovery from Rohypnol addiction is possible with detox and therapy. If you don’t know where to start, or how to approach your loved one about an addiction, then try reaching out to a treatment provider today. They’re available to help answer any rehab-related questions you may have for yourself or a loved one.

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Cooper Smith

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  • Cooper Smith earned his Bachelor’s in Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University. While he was initially interested in a career in television, he saw an issue in his community and felt compelled to do something more. Now, he uses his knowledge to reach out to people who may need help and make the public aware of issues we are facing as a society. When he isn’t behind a computer, Cooper travels somewhere new.

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Theresa Parisi

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  • All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by Theresa Parisi, a certified addiction professional.

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