Addiction A-Z

Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) or “Roofies”

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a powerful benzodiazepine sedative and hypnotic drug not approved for sale, importation or manufacture in the United States. Known as a “date rape drug,” under the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996, it is illegal to possess, distribute or manufacture this drug in the U.S., and the bill authorizes fines and up to 20 years in prison for giving the drug to someone without their knowledge with the intention of committing a crime such as rape. Because Rohypnol is colorless, tasteless and odorless, the drug is undetectable when mixed into a beverage. When combined with alcohol or other depressants, Rohypnol can be lethal. The drug causes severe sedation and amnesia, making physical resistance impossible and inhibiting a victim’s ability to recall events such as sexual assault. First created by the pharmaceutical company Hoffman-LaRoche of Switzerland, flunitrazepam is still legal in many countries and widely prescribed abroad for its sedative and hypnotic effects. The National Institute of Drug Abuse estimates Rohypnol is abused for its intoxicating effects by approximately 0.4% to 1.0% of U.S. adolescents. Known as a “club drug,” Rohypnol is often used at raves, college parties and gang initiations. According to the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research, addicts reportedly use Rohypnol in combination with other drugs such as ecstasy or marijuana to increase their high, whereas heroin users sometimes take it to ease withdrawal symptoms. Common side effects of Rohypnol include: drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, memory impairment, poor coordination, slurred speech, decreased blood pressure, lack of motor skills, and both visual and gastrointestinal disturbances.



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