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Violence and Rohypnol

Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine that works by manipulating brain neurotransmitters to elevate feelings of calm. Rohypnol is illegal to sell, manufacture, prescribe or use in the United States. Rohypnol is used in other countries as a pre-anesthetic prior to surgery and as a treatment for insomnia.

Rohypnol is a powerful tranquilizer several times more potent than valium. Users crush the tablet and snort or smoke it with marijuana, inject it or dissolve it in liquid and drink it. Rohypnol produces extreme sedation in users, producing amnesia-like effects.1 Taking the drug while drinking alcohol increases the drug’s side effects.

Violence and Rohypnol Use

Young woman with hangoverRohypnol is a popular club drug. Also known as the “date rape drug,” it can easily be slipped into drinks undetected because when dissolved it is colorless and odorless. Within 30 minutes of ingestion, the victim becomes unable to remember a sexual assault, and the effects of the drug can last up to 12 hours after ingestion. Rohypnol impairs judgment and motor skills. It also produces memory loss and victims often report blacking out and waking up hours later without their clothes or in another location. These blackouts can last 8 to 24 hours after taking the drug.

When a person ingests Rohypnol, loss of inhibition can occur, making the person seem drunk with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Side effects tend to peak within 2 hours of taking the drug and sedation can begin within 20 minutes of ingesting Rohypnol.

Additional side effects of Rohypnol use include:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Memory impairment
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Urine retention2

When Rohypnol is mixed with alcohol it can cause respiratory depression to the point of coma and even death. Although a rare side effect, Rohypnol has also been associated with increased excitability and aggression in some users.


Effects of Long-term Rohypnol Use

Rohypnol is not intended for long-term use. Taking it for an extended period of time can lead to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence.

Signs of Rohypnol addiction include the following:

  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped
  • Preoccupation with maintaining a supply of the drug
  • Social isolation due to increased use

Stopping Rohypnol abruptly can induce painful withdrawal symptoms such as the following:

  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens
  • Death

If you or a loved one struggles with Rohypnol addiction, getting proper treatment is the safest and best way to recover. With an appropriate diagnosis and treatment of any underlying mental illness, individual and group therapy and proper after care, living a life free from the control of Rohypnol is possible.

Recovery from Rohypnol

If you or someone you love struggles with Rohypnol abuse, you are not alone. Call our helpline and speak to an admissions coordinator 24 hours a day about available treatment options. You never have to go back to a life of addiction. Please call 760.548.4032 now and start your recovery today.

By Patti Richards, Contributing Writer


1 What Is Rohypnol? Side Effects of Roofies & Date Rape Drugs - Drug-Free World.” Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Accessed Oct.2, 2018.

2 Club Drugs.” Boston University Police Department. Accessed Oct. 2, 2018.