What is Rohypnol?
Rohypnol is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine with general properties similar to those of Valium (diazepam). It is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia, as a pre-medication in surgical procedures and for inducing anesthesia.
Since the 1990s Rohypnol has been used illegally to lessen the depression caused by the abuse of stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and also as an aid for sexual assault. The so-called “date-rape drug” was placed unknowingly in the drinks of victims, often at a bar or party (“club drug”). Due to the strong amnesia produced by the drug, victims would have limited or no memory of the assault.
Like other benzodiazepines (such as Valium, Ativan and Xanax), Rohypnol’s therapeutic effects include:
reduction in anxiety
prevention of convulsions.
However, the sedative effects of Rohypnol are approximately 7 to 10 times stronger than Valium. The action of Rohypnol appears 15 to 20 minutes after administration and last approximately four to six hours. Some residual effects can be found 12 hours or more after administration.
Why is Rohypnol Called the Date Rape Drug?
Amnesia is an expected pharmacologic effect of benzodiazepines. Rohypnol causes partial amnesia; individuals are unable to remember certain events that they experience while under the influence of the drug. However, this effect is particularly dangerous when Rohypnol is used illicitly to aid in sexual assault. Victims may not be able to clearly recall the assault, the assailant, or the events surrounding the assault.
Learn More: Amnesia Overview
How is Rophynol Taken?
Rohypnol can be taken by mouth as a whole tablet, it can be crushed and snorted up the nose, or dissolved in a liquid prior to drinking.
Rohypnol may also be used with other drugs of abuse, such as alcohol or cocaine for various effects. Rohypnol can increase the intoxication of alcohol, or may be used to lower the irritability and anxiety linked with excessive cocaine use (binging).
Is Rohypnol Available in the United States?
Rohypnol is not approved for medical use or manufactured in the United States and is not available legally. However, it is legally prescribed in over 60 other countries and is widely available in Mexico, Colombia, and Europe where it is used for the treatment of insomnia and as a pre-anesthetic. Rohypnol is often smuggled into the U.S from other countries, such as Mexico.