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Is Rohypnol Legal in the United States?

In the United States it is illegal to manufacture, sell, use or be in possession of Rohypnol. However, the substance is still produced legally and used medically in many other countries throughout the world.

Rohypnol was made illegal in the U.S. mainly because of its connection with cases of drug-related sexual assault and rape.

The US government passed a law in 1996 known as the Drug Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act because of the high number of sexual assault and rape cases related to Rohypnol use.1 Rohypnol can produce numerous sedating effects, which made it the drug of choice in drug-induced sexual assault cases. The law allows people convicted of drug-related sexual assault or rape to receive more severe punishments such as longer prison sentences and higher fines.

What Are the Penalties of Rohypnol Use and Possession?

Possession of the substance, even when unrelated to sexual assault, is also illegal in the US, and the penalties are the same as for Scheduled I drugs like heroin, Ecstasy and LSD.2 They include the following:

1. Simple possession

With no proven intent to sell or distribute, simple possession is illegal under federal law and every state law. Under federal law a person who is convicted of simple possession of Rohypnol can face a prison sentence of no more than three years and a fine of no less than $5,000. State law penalties differ from state to state.

2. Possession with intent to distribute

Federal law states that a person convicted of possession of Rohypnol with intent to distribute can face a prison term of no less than 10 years and up to life in prison. A fine of up to $4,000,000 can also be added under the full extent of federal law. If the distribution of Rohypnol resulted in the death or severe bodily harm of the recipient, the prison sentence is increased to not less than 20 years and up to life in prison. Intent to distribute can be deemed even if the person gives the drug to only one person.

Rohypnol’s Drug Schedule Classification

Possession of Rohypnol is often penalized with extreme prejudice due to its dangerous connection to cases of sexual assault and rape. Rohypnol is categorized as a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA was signed into law in 1970 and is regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rohypnol is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance because it meets the following criteria:

  • It has a low potential for abuse in relation to substances in schedule III
  • It has a currently accepted medical use (although not in the United States)
  • Abuse of the substance may lead to physical or psychological dependence3

Rohypnol is considered a dangerous substance with the potential for dependence and addiction. Seeking out and receiving professional treatment from a licensed rehab facility is essential to overcome addiction and experience a health recovery.

Need Help Finding Treatment for Rohypnol Abuse?

If you or someone you know is struggling with Rohypnol abuse and needs help, please call our toll-free number, 760.548.4032. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day in order to help you find a treatment program that will work for you. Don’t let addiction keep you down.

1 "H.R.4137 - Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996." Accessed June 16, 2018.

2 "Rohypnol." May 18, 2014.

3 "Rohypnol." US Drug Enforcement Administration. Accessed June 16, 2018.