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Origins of Rohypnol

Rohypnol is a central nervous system depressant that is classified as a benzodiazepine. Doctors commonly prescribe benzodiazepines for anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, seizure control, muscle relaxation and to induce amnesia for surgery.

Misuse of this form of drug frequently leads to drug problems such as substance abuse or even addiction. Although benzodiazepines such as Valium or Xanax are commonly prescribed in the US, Rohypnol is considered especially dangerous. Rohypnol is not approved for medical use or manufactured in the United States and is not available legally. However, Rohypnol can be legally prescribed in over 60 other countries and is widely available in Mexico, Colombia, and Europe.1

It is important to note that benzodiazepine use is not always hazardous. When individuals follow their doctor’s instructions closely they are far less likely to have drug problems.

The History of Rohypnol

The history of Rohypnol is deeply intertwined with the history of benzodiazepines. Originally benzodiazepines were first developed in the 1950s by the scientist Leo Sternbach while he was working for the Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffman-La Roche.2 Sternbach directed a team of researchers that helped him create and introduce many benzodiazepines. Rohypnol was first introduced by Hoffman-La Roche in 1975.

Doctors wanted to have a safer alternative to barbiturates, which had a high risk of respiratory depression. During the 1970s, benzodiazepines became popular among both doctors and patients. However, by the 1980s, medical providers started to voice concerns about abuse and dependency. Medical providers and legislators began to create restrictions for the use of benzodiazepines during this time.

Rohypnol Use Today

Despite this drug being illegal in the US, Rohypnol is legal in many other countries. Perhaps the most troubling issue surrounding Rohypnol is its use as a date rape drug. This drug is tasteless and odorless, so the individual does not even know she has been drugged.

Rohypnol is frequently placed in unwatched drinks at bars or clubs to facilitate sexual assault.


Street Names for Rohypnol

It is also known for causing short-term memory loss, which makes it an ideal substance for sexual predators. Some common street names for Rohypnol include the following:

  • Forget Me Pill
  • La Rocha
  • Lunch Money Drug
  • Mexican Valium
  • Pingus
  • R2
  • Roach 2
  • Ruffies
  • Rophies
  • Wolfies3

Rohypnol is often swallowed with alcohol or other drugs. On some occasions, the drug may be crushed and snorted, dissolved, injected, or even smoked. The effects of Rohypnol can often be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours.4

How You Can Move Forward

If you or someone you know suffers from Rohypnol abuse or any other form of drug, please contact Michael’s House to get help at 760.548.4032. Michael’s House offers the highest quality forms of treatment available including individual psychotherapy, expressive arts therapy, relapse prevention groups, adventure experiences and more. We treat not only the drug problem but also the underlying reason for the drug problem to facilitate long-term recovery.

Call our toll-free helpline today to find out more. We are ready to help you or your loved one live a life without drugs starting today.


1Rohypnol.”, Accessed May 18, 2018.

2 “Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol).” Center for Substance Abuse Research, Accessed May 18, 2018.

3Rohypnol.”, Accessed May 18, 2018.

4Date Rape Drugs.”, Accessed May 18, 2018.