Rohypnol is the drug often nicknamed ‘roofies’ and is commonly known as the 'date rape drug'. This drug can aid in some seriously messed up shit. That being said, you need to know the warning signs if you ever encounter it and that’s exactly what we’re here for.

A young man is sitting on a bench. He is looking up Rohypnol. This is a full-body image.

What is Rohypnol? 

So, we bet you’re wondering ‘what’s a roofie?’ Rohypnol (or Roofies), the trade name for flunitrazepam, is an inexpensive drug intended for short term treatment of sleep disorders, such as insomnia. The cheap street price means people occasionally take Rohypnol recreationally. The effects are similar to Valium but around 10 times the strength.

It’s also occasionally used as a ‘parachute drug’ to lessen the effects of coming down from other substances.

How do you take Rohypnol?  

Now that we’ve answered ‘What is rohypnol?’, it’s only fitting that we tell you how to take it (as safely as possible). Rohypnol is part of the prescription drugs club. It’s sold in bubble packs of one or two mg doses (usually in the form of white tablets with the word ROCHE written across).

Rohypnols (UK) and date rape 

Because Rohypnol dissolves quickly in drinks leaving no odour or taste and often leads to blackouts when mixed with alcohol, it’s used to facilitate sexual assault. Despite the manufacturer’s attempt to counter this problem by adding blue dye, and making it slower to dissolve, some still remain colourless. 

It works as a central nervous system depressant. This means that as soon as the drug enters your body, it has sedative effects which knock you out. So, what does roofied mean? Well, it means that you’ve been given rohypnols unwittingly to make you unconscious.

Remember to watch your drink when you’re out, and if you think you’ve been spiked, call 999.

Why do people take Rohypnol? 

If it doesn’t give you a high, why take it at all? Let’s fill you in:  

  • When you’re under the influence of the drug it relaxes the muscles and slows down the body’s responses.
  • If combined with heroin, Rohypnol can enhance the high.
  • When taken with cocaine, Rohypnol can mellow out the kick.
  • If combined with alcohol, Rohypnol can increase the feeling of drunkenness and lower inhibitions.

Rohypnol takes effect within 20 to 30 minutes of administration and lasts up to eight hours.

What are the bad side effects of taking Rohypnol? 

There are most definitely risks to taking ‘roofies’, both recreationally and unknowingly. Here are a few:

  • It can induce memory loss.
  • Tolerance is lowered with repeated use, which means you need more to get the same effect.
  • Continued use of Rohypnol can result in physical dependency, which can lead you down a path of drug addiction. To find out more about addiction, click here
  • Withdrawal symptoms may include headaches, muscle pain, confusion to hallucinations, and even convulsions. Seizures may occur up to a week after users have quit. If you’re abusing the drug or any other benzodiazepine. Consult your doctor before trying to kick the habit.

How can I reduce the risks if I take it?  

Avoid mixing with any other drugs, particularly other depressants such as alcohol and heroin. Remember that Rohypnol is not a substitute for temazepam (another sleeping tablet), it’s actually much stronger than temazepam, and much more toxic too. You may only need half a tablet to get the same effect as a jelly.

Read our article on mixing drugs to find out more. 

Is Rohypnol legal? 

Rohypnol is a Class C drug. It’s available by prescription only, so supply or possession without a prescription is a criminal offence. The maximum penalties are two years in prison and a fine for possession, or five years prison and a fine for possession with intent to supply.

Spiking someone’s drink to try and rape or sexually assault them can get you 10 years imprisonment .

Next Steps

  • Drinkaware offers advice and information on alcohol and your drinking habits.
  • Are you drinking too much? Drinkaware has a useful self assessment tool to help you discover if your drinking habits are healthy, or something to worry about.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


drugs a-z| rape

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 15-Sep-2021