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Roofie Info


National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report Series

"Roofies"

Rohypnol, the trade name for flunitrazepam, has been a concern for the last few years because of its abuse as a "date rape" drug. People may unknowingly be given the drug which, when mixed with alcohol, can incapacitate a victim and prevent them from resisting sexual assault. Also, Rohypnol may be lethal when mixed with alcohol and/or other depressants.

Rohypnol produces sedative-hypnotic effects including muscle relaxation and amnesia; it can also produce physical and psychological dependence. In Miami, one of the first sites of Rohypnol abuse, poison control centers report an increase in withdrawal seizures among people addicted to Rohypnol.

Rohypnol is not approved for use in the United States and its importation is banned. Illicit use of Rohypnol began in Europe in the 1970s and started appearing in the United States in the early 1990s,
where it became known as "rophies," "roofies," "roach," "rope," and the "date rape" drug.

Another very similar drug is now being sold as "roofies" in Miami, Minnesota, and Texas. This is clonazepam, marketed in the U.S. as Klonopin and in Mexico as Rivotril. It is sometimes abused to
enhance the effects of heroin and other opiates. Based on emergency room admission information, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Seattle appear to have the highest use rates of clonazepam.

Information and educational materials on Rohypnol and GHB directed toward college students are available from the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center at 1-800-END-RAPE (1-800-363-7273). These materials are also being distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice to law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

Slang or Street Names: Roofies, Rophies, Roche, Forget-me Pill

Rohypnol® (flunitrazepam) belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (such as Valium®, Halcion®, Xanax®, and Versed®). It is not approved for prescription use in the United States, although it is approved in Europe and is used in more than 60 countries as a treatment for insomnia, as a sedative, and as a presurgery anesthetic.

  • Rohypnol is tasteless and odorless, and it dissolves easily in carbonated beverages. The sedative and toxic effects of Rohypnol are aggravated by concurrent use of alcohol. Even without alcohol, a dose of Rohypnol as small as 1 mg can impair a victim for 8 to 12 hours. 
  • Rohypnol is usually taken orally, although there are reports that it can be ground up and snorted. 
  • The drug can cause profound "anterograde amnesia"; that is, individuals may not remember events they experienced while under the effects of the drug. This may be why one of the street
    names for Rohypnol is "the forget-me pill" and it has been reportedly used in sexual assaults. 
  • Other adverse effects associated with Rohypnol include decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness, confusion, gastrointestinal disturbances, and urinary retention.