Rohypnol Addiction and Abuse
Rohypnol is the trade name of flunitrazepam, an intermediate acting benzodiazepine. It is illegal in the United States but is still available by prescription in some other countries. People who abuse the drug take it to get high, lower inhibitions, or heighten the effects of other drugs.1
Predators may also use “roofies” to render victims unconscious prior to assaulting them, which is why it is often referred to as a “date rape drug.” This drug also produces anterograde amnesia, which means the individual won’t remember anything that happened for hours after taking it. Rohypnol can be addictive and quitting without medical assistance can be dangerous.
Is Rohypnol Addictive?
Rohypnol is a Schedule IV substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning it is not approved for medical use in the United States.2,3. So does flunitrazepam have the potential to be addictive?
Benzodiazepines can quickly produce feelings of relaxation and sedation which make them effective for short-term or episodic treatment for mood, anxiety, or panic disorders. When taken regularly, and this can happen over just a few weeks of use, the body begins to adapt and tolerance develops, and a person requires a higher dose of the medication to achieve the desired effects.
Long term, regular use can also lead to dependence, where a person will experience physiological symptoms of withdrawal if they stop taking a benzodiazepine or significantly reduce their dose. A person who has developed a dependence to benzodiazepines is at risk of becoming addicted, which is when a person continues to chronically misuse a substance, despite experiencing any of the significant negative consequences identified above.5,6
Checking Your Insurance Benefits
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What is Rohypnol?
Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which are commonly used to treat anxiety, panic disorder, seizures, and muscle spasticity. Other drugs in this class include Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam). Rohypnol is extremely potent (up to 10 times stronger than Valium).1
It has strong sedation effects and is considered as a date-rape drug due to the increasing incidence of Rohypnol-assisted rapes in the United States.2 Rohypnol is also abused to amplify the effects of alcohol, and heroin, and to counter the side effects of cocaine.
Those abusing Rohypnol may refer to it by one of the following street names:1,4
- Forget-me pill
- La rocha
- Lunch money drug
- Mexican valium
Rohypnol is a central nervous system depressant and combining this drug with other sedatives or CNS depressants can cause adverse side effects. It is recommended to seek professional help from Rohypnol rehab facilities to prevent any life-threatening side effects of Rohypnol addiction.
What is Rohypnol Addiction?
Drug addiction is the continued, compulsive use of drugs, including benzodiazepines like Rohypnol, despite serious negative consequences, such as health, work, school, and relationship problems. Addiction is a treatable medical illness that affects the brain and changes behaviors such as self-control.7
Rohypnol is not legal in the U.S., so any use is abuse. As abuse continues, the individual will need to take higher or more frequent amounts to achieve a high, risking not only deadly overdose but also the potential for eventually becoming physically dependent and addicted.1 Using a drug compulsively despite the negative consequences is the hallmark of addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD).
Signs and symptoms of such an SUD include:8
- Taking a benzodiazepine (benzo) like Rohypnol more often or in higher amounts than intended.
- Wanting to stop using but not succeeding.
- Spending a lot of time getting benzos, using them, or recovering from them.
- Craving or strongly desiring benzos.
- Failing to fulfill obligations at home, school, or work because of benzodiazepines.
- Continuing to use benzos despite relationship conflicts that are created or worsened by use.
- Giving up important activities (social, professional, or recreational) to use benzodiazepines.
- Using benzodiazepines when doing so could be hazardous, such as prior to operating machinery.
- Continuing benzo use despite knowing that it causes or worsens physical or mental health problems.
- Needing to take more and more to get the desired effects (tolerance).
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Rohypnol Addiction?
Rohypnol depresses central nervous system activity, and within 15-20 minutes may bring about symptoms such as:2,4
- Reduced anxiety.
- An inability to recall events that occurred while intoxicated.
- Changes in reaction time.
- Impaired mental functioning and judgment.
- Decreased blood pressure.
- Muscle relaxation.
- Slurred speech.
- Loss of motor coordination.
In some users, the expected relaxation and drowsiness are replaced by excitability and aggression. Rohypnol intoxication doesn’t end quickly; symptoms tend to last for 12 or more hours.4
What are the Health Risks of Rohypnol Abuse?
A person who abuses Rohypnol or other drugs may show certain changes in their behavior and personal lives, such as:7
- Increased secretiveness and/or lying.
- Abrupt changes in friends/social groups.
- Relationship conflicts.
- Legal problems.
- Failure to take care of responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- Suddenly needing money for unexplained or suspicious reasons.
- Using the drug in ways or under conditions that are knowingly dangerous (e.g., using while driving, sharing needles, etc.)
Physical and psychological signs of Rohypnol abuse may include:2,4
- Slurred speech.
- Poor coordination.
- Stomach problems.
- Sleepiness or struggling to fall asleep.
- Trouble remembering recent events.
How Do I Get Help for Addiction to Rohypnol?
While it can be difficult to overcome an addiction to hallucinogens it can be effectively managed.9,10 There is not one type of facility or program that is suitable for everyone.9 Addiction treatment should address both your substance abuse and the various ways it has negatively impacted your life, including physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.9,10
There are various types of treatment options available to address the wide range of needs that people experience.11 Programs typically provide an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs. They often use a combination of different techniques to address your addiction and how it has affected you.11
These can include:9-11
- Residential treatment, where you live at a facility, and receive care and/or support around the clock. This is a structured setting with counseling, support, and a strong emphasis on peer and social interactions.
- Inpatient treatment typically involves a shorter stay at a facility—often around 4 weeks —with around-the-clock monitoring and care, intense group therapy, and individual counseling.
- Outpatient treatment offers less intensive group and individual counseling while you live at home. This type of care allows you to work, attend school, and participate in daily life while learning how to adjust to stressors and receiving the support of peers and staff.
- Behavioral therapy in a group, individual, and/or family settings is highly effective for treating addiction to hallucinogens, dissociative drugs, and other substances. These techniques can help you learn how to stay sober, improve your relationships with others, cope with stress in healthy ways, and participate in positive activities.
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders, which addresses mental health disorders at the same time as a substance use disorder, is generally more effective than treating these issues separately. Therapy, medications, and other supportive services are commonly utilized in this type of treatment.
If you are seeking peyote treatment in the United States, you have a wide array of options including private rehab facilities, state-run treatment facilities, and local treatment programs.
There are also support groups that can help you as you work toward becoming sober and maintaining that sobriety. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a mutual support group that offers people the opportunity to use peer bond, sponsor relationships, and self-expression to work toward sobriety. There are also non-12-step programs available that offer alternatives to NA.
Where Can I Learn More about Treating Rohypnol Addiction?
For more information about Rohypnol abuse and addiction treatment, you may want to reach out to your doctor. Or you can contact one of our admissions navigators at for the information and support you are looking for as you look for addiction treatment.
There are various treatment programs and strategies available for addiction, so don’t give up if the first program you check out doesn’t meet your individual needs.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). NIDA Community Drug Alert Bulleting – Club Drugs: Rohypnol.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Commonly Used Drug Charts: Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam).
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Drug Scheduling.
- Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020). Drug Fact Sheet: Rohypnol.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Is there a difference between physical dependence and addiction?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Media Guide: The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (Third edition).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). The National Institute on Drug Abuse media guide.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). DrugFacts: Treatment approaches for drug addiction.