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Dangers of Recreational Rohypnol Use

Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine drug, which means it has a hypnotic and sedative effect and can be used as an anti-anxiety medication. Casual abuse of Rohypnol, also known as flunitrazepam, may not seem dangerous, but it is a high-risk drug that has serious side effects. People may underestimate the possible consequences of Rohypnol abuse, but Rohypnol can have negative effects after very few doses or even the first dose.

Consequences of Rohypnol Abuse

A single dose of Rohypnol can lower motor skills and cognitive reasoning for many hours or even into the next day.1 People may not realize they are still feeling the effects and may drive while under the influence. Physical dependence can develop after just a few doses, and stopping the drug or reducing the dose may result in insomnia and withdrawal symptoms.

A pregnant woman who takes Rohypnol increases the risk of her child being born with hypotonia which can affect the child’s early muscle development.

Rohypnol as a Date-Rape Drug

Rohypnol is often used as a date-rape drug. Rohypnol takes effect after 15-20 minutes and causes amnesia. While the drug is most often hidden in a person’s drink, others take the drug voluntarily and knowingly without realizing how strong the effects will be or that they will not remember what happened while under the influence.

Because of its known use as a date rape drug, Rohypnol is now sold in an olive green color that will change light colored beverages blue. Generic versions, however, may not be similarly dyed.2


Negative Reactions of Rohypnol Use

The following are potential negative reactions that can result from recreational Rohypnol use:

  • Paradoxical reaction – Some people may experience effects opposite those expected when taking Rohypnol. These may include anxiety, aggression, suicidal tendencies, depression, confusion and convulsions.
  • Respiratory depression – When used in small doses Rohypnol acts as a depressant. In larger doses or when combined with alcohol or opiates, the effects are intensified. Serious respiratory depression may occur followed by coma or death.
  • Drug interactions – When Rohypnol is taken with other drugs, the toxic effects are multiplied and can cause serious physical harm or death.
  • Legal consequences – Rohypnol is illegal in the U.S. and strictly regulated worldwide. There are strict penalties for possession of the drug, and there is the possibility of life in prison for distributing it.
  • Overdose – Rohypnol has a high chance of overdose when used recreationally. A small dose is enough to have a sedative effect, and more than that may cause severe sedation, slurred speech, impaired balance, coma or death.
  • Suicide – A study published in 2000 in the Journal of Forensic Science reports that Rohypnol is used more often than other drugs in successful suicide attempts.

Rohypnol Is Not Worth the High

People may use Rohypnol at parties or clubs for its intoxicating effects, or they may use it at home to distract themselves from stress or problems in life. The serious risks of addiction, withdrawal, suicide and other adverse effects are not worth it. There are usually underlying issues that cause a person to use drugs, and dealing with these issues is a better option than risking your life and health.

Stop Using Rohypnol Now

If you have used Rohypnol or other drugs recreationally, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Call our 24-hour helpline at 760.548.4032 now to get treatment for drug abuse or addiction. We can discuss the signs of addiction with you, help you find the level of support needed or help you reach out to a loved one who is struggling. All calls and phone services and free, so you have nothing to lose. Please call today.


1 "Rohypnol." 4 September 2018.

2 "Drugs of Abuse." Drug Enforcement Administration. Accessed 30 October 2017.