What is Rohypnol? Understanding Rohypnol Abuse and Addiction

Rohypnol abuse and addiction

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that slow down activity in your central nervous system. While these substances can be effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders, they are known to be habit-forming and addictive when used long-term or in excess.

Estimates are that 17.2 % of all benzodiazepine use is considered abuse.[1]

Most benzodiazepines that people abuse are available by prescription in the United States, like Xanax (alprazolam) or Klonopin (clonazepam). However, there is a benzodiazepine known as Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) that has become illegal in America due to its dangerous effects and risk of addiction.

What is Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam)?

Rohypnol is the brand name for a benzodiazepine drug called flunitrazepam, a powerful sedative that depresses the central nervous system (CNS). While Rohypnol is not legal in the United States, it is used in other countries to treat insomnia.

Usually, Rohypnol comes as a white tablet that can be swallowed, snorted, or swallowed in a drink. However, companies have begun manufacturing this substance as a green pill that dyes liquids blue to prevent people from being drugged.

Also known by the slang terms “roofies” or “Mexican valium,” Rohypnol is considered to be a club drug because it is often abused by young adults who frequent nightclubs, concerts, and parties. Oftentimes, people combine Rohypnol with other substances like alcohol, heroin, or cocaine to increase their intoxication.

When used with alcohol, Rohypnol can lower inhibitions and produce amnesia. As a result, it is often used as a “date rape” drug to commit sexual assaults as it makes people unable to remember what happened the night before.[2]

What are the Effects of Rohypnol?

Rohypnol causes effects similar to other benzodiazepines like slowing down the functioning of the central nervous system. People who intentionally abuse the drug are doing so to experience a drowsy and euphoric high.

With that being said, the effects of Rohypnol may include:[2]

  • Drowsiness and sedation
  • Sleep and hypnosis
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Amnesia
  • Increased or decreased reaction times
  • Impaired mental functioning and judgment
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Excitability

People who take Rohypnol might feel tired, and dizzy, and have an overall sense of wellbeing or euphoria, so it is often taken in the club scene to enhance a person’s mood. However, abusing this substance can be incredibly dangerous, especially when taken in high doses.

Risks of Rohypnol Abuse

The main risk of abusing Rohypnol is experiencing an overdose. Whether you abuse the drug in high doses or mix it with another substance, you can experience life-threatening effects. Because Rohypnol is a CNS depressant, large doses of it can lead to fatal respiratory depression.

The signs of a Rohypnol overdose include:[2]

  • Slowed heart rate
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe sedation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Slurring your words
  • Hallucinations
  • Coma

Because Rohypnol is used as a date rape drug, you should never leave your drink unattended at a bar, nightclub, or party. If you are abusing alcohol or other substances and are drugged with Rohypnol, you could experience an overdose or life-threatening effects.

Signs of Rohypnol Addiction

While Rohypnol is considered a date rape drug, many people abuse it intentionally. Repeated abuse of Rohypnol can lead to the development of addiction, as it is a benzodiazepine. Being aware of the signs of Rohypnol addiction can motivate you to seek help from a drug rehab center.

The signs of Rohypnol addiction include:

  • Spending a lot of time thinking about, obtaining, or using Rohypnol
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Abusing large amounts of Rohypnol at once
  • Using Rohypnol more often than you intend to
  • Combining Rohypnol with other substances like alcohol
  • Needing a higher dose of Rohypnol to experience the desired effect (developing a tolerance)
  • Failing to meet responsibilities at home, school, or work because of Rohypnol abuse
  • Continuing to use Rohypnol despite experiencing physical or mental health complications
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you cannot abuse Rohypnol

Long-term Rohypnol abuse can lead to a wide array of mental and physical health issues, including life-threatening overdoses. If you or a loved one are addicted to Rohypnol, attending an addiction treatment center can provide you with the assistance you need to achieve long-term sobriety.

Finding Help for Rohypnol Abuse and Addiction

Dealing with a Rohypnol addiction can make it difficult for you to function in your daily life. Because of this, you should always seek help from a licensed drug rehab center. At PAX Memphis, we can connect you with a reputable addiction treatment center that will offer you the tools and support you need to maintain long-term recovery from your substance use disorder.

To get connected to a highly-rated addiction treatment program near you, contact us today.


  1. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Adults in the United States, Retrieved October 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6358464/
  2. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Drug Fact Sheet: Rohypnol, Retrieved October 2023 From https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Rohypnol-2020.pdf

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


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

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

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