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Created Jul 2019 | Updated Oct 2020




DEA CODE 2763: Schedule 4



Flunitrazepam is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine with general properties similar to those of diazepam. It is generally intended to be for short-term treatment for chronic or severe insomniacs who are unresponsive to other hypnotics. The main pharmacological effects of Flunitrazepam are the enhancement of GABA at the GABAA receptor. The physical effects of Flunitrazepam include sedation, muscle relaxation, decreased anxiety, and prevention of convulsions. It causes partial amnesia; individuals are unable to remember certain events that they experience while under the influence of the drug. Chronic use of Flunitrazepam can result in physical dependence and the appearance of a withdrawal syndrome when the drug is discontinued. Flunitrazepam impairs cognitive and psychomotor functions affecting reaction time and driving skill. The use of this drug in combination with alcohol is a particular concern as both central nervous system depressants potentiate each other's toxicity.

Flunitrazepam is a potent hypnotic of the benzodiazepine class which has an infamous reputation as a date-rape drug and is especially potent when used in combination with alcohol, causing strong amnesia. It also has sedative, muscle relaxant and anxiolytic properties and is prescribed for the treatment of severe insomnia that is unresponsive to other drugs, especially in an in-patient setting. The most common slang term for flunitrazepam tablets is "roofies". The main effect of flunitrazepam is sedation. The user becomes extremely tired, will be inclined to sleep, and may fall asleep even if he or she didn't want to. The sedative effect of flunitrazepam may be euphoric for some users, although many people don't consider benzodiazepines to be euphoric drugs.

The combined sedation of alcohol and flunitrazepam could easily lead to death by cardiac arrest or severe respiratory depression. Combining flunitrazepam with any other sedating drugs is also likely to be dangerous. Flunitrazepam can be safely combined with cannabis, which may increase its hypnotic effects without extra bradycardia or respiratory depression.

It is perfectly safe to smoke cigarettes with flunitrazepam, although you should always avoid smoking in bed or around anything flammable under the influence of flunitrazepam, since you might become so sedated that you fall asleep with the cigarette/joint still lit, and burn your house down and get yourself killed. Flunitrazepam is best used for getting to sleep and relieving insomnia, and is one of the most effective drugs for inducing sleep around.

While flunitrazepam or "roofies" is the most well-known date-rape drug, one study by Robertson found that it is only used in 1% or date-rape cases; rapists tend to use soporific drugs that are easier to acquire than flunitrazepam, such as GHB.

Different flunitrazepam brands:
  • Argentina - Nervocuril, Primum, Rohypnol
  • Australia - Hypnodorm
  • Austria - Guttanotte; Rohypnol; Somnubene
  • Belgium - Rohypnol
  • Brazil - Rohydorm; Rohypnol
  • Chile - Ipnopen
  • Czech Republic - Rohypnol
  • Denmark - Flunipam, Ronal
  • France - Narcozep, Rohypnol
  • Germany - Flunibeta, Fluninoc, Rohypnol
  • Greece - Hipnosedon, Ilman, Neo Nifalium, Vulbegal
  • Hong Kong - Flunita, Rohypnol
  • Ireland - Rohypnol
  • Israel - Hypnodorm
  • Italy - Darkene, Roipno, Valsera
  • Mexico - Rohypnol
  • Netherland - Rohypnol
  • Norway - Flunipam
  • Portugal- Rohypnol; Sedex
  • South Africa - Insom; Rohypnol
  • Spain - Rohipnol
  • Sweden - Fluscand
  • Switzerland - Rohypnol
  • Thailand - Rohypnol, Guttanotte, Rohypnol, Somnubene

Flunitrazepam is addictive. Dependence to the drug develops after several consecutive days of use, and because of its rather long half-life, dependence can develop even if used every other day for a week to two week period. For this reason, flunitrazepam should not be used for any longer than 5 consecutive days. Long-term use of flunitrazepam has been postulated to cause depression. Because of its potency, it is very easy to overdose on flunitrazepam, and a dose higher than 2mgs is medically unsafe.

The drug is legally manufactured and available outside the United States but is neither manufactured nor approved for sale within the United States. Since the 1990s individuals in the United States have used Rohypnol illegally, often as a means of mitigating the depression that results from using stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Rohypnol also has been used in the commission of sexual assaults.

Rohypnol is manufactured as a caplet. In 1997 the manufacturer responded to concerns about the drug's role in sexual assaults by reformulating the white, 2-milligram tablets. (The original tablets dissolved clear in liquid, making it nearly impossible for a victim to detect their presence in a beverage.) The new smaller dosage (0.5 mg and 1.0 mg) caplets are dull green with a blue core that, when dissolved in light-colored drinks, will dye the liquid blue. However, the dye may be disguised in blue or dark-colored liquids, and generic versions of the drug may not contain the blue dye.

The effects of Rohypnol are felt within 15 to 20 minutes and may persist for more than 12 hours.

Rohypnol is a trade name for flunitrazepam, a central nervous system depressant that belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

This drug has never been approved for medical use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. Outside the United States, Rohypnol is commonly prescribed to treat insomnia. Rohypnol is also referred to as a "date rape" drug.

Rohypnol is smuggled into the United States from other countries, such as Mexico.

Prior to 1997, Rohypnol was manufactured as a white tablet (0.5-2 milligrams per tablet), and when mixed in drinks, was colorless, tasteless, and odorless. In 1997, the manufacturer responded to concerns about the drug's role in sexual assaults by reformulating the drug. Rohypnol is now manufactured as an oblong olive green tablet with a speckled blue core that when dissolved in light-colored drinks will dye the liquid blue. However, generic versions of the drug may not contain the blue dye.

The tablet can be swallowed whole, crushed and snorted, or dissolved in liquid. While high, reduced inhibitions and impaired judgment are experienced. Rohypnol is also used in combination with alcohol to produce an exaggerated intoxication. In addition, abuse of Rohypnol may be associated with multiple-substance abuse. For example, cocaine users may use benzodiazepines such as Rohypnol to relieve the side effects (e.g., irritability and agitation) associated with cocaine binges.

Rohypnol is also misused to physically and psychologically incapacitate victims targeted for sexual assault. The drug is usually placed in the alcoholic drink of an unsuspecting victim to incapacitate them and prevent resistance to sexual assault. The drug leaves the victim unaware of what has happened to them.

High doses of Rohypnol, particularly when combined with CNS depressant drugs such as alcohol and heroin, can cause severe sedation, unconsciousness, slow heart rate, and suppression of respiration that may be sufficient to result in death.

Benzodiazepines are sedative-hypnotics used to treat anxiety, insomnia and sleep disorders, and seizure disorders; they are also used as skeletal-muscle relaxants. (Sedative-hypnotics are dose-dependent drugs; lower doses promote sedation and relaxation, higher doses promote sleep.2)

Other benzodiazepines include alpranzolam (Xanax), bromazepam, chlordiazepoxide (Librium), lorazepam (Ativan), and diazepam (Valium), all of which are prescribed in the United States.

Rohypnol, however, is ten times more potent than Valium, and while commonly prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders in Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere, it was never approved for use or sale in the United States. Rohypnol pills are smuggled into the United States, often via international mail, and sold on the street in the manufacturer's blister packaging (similar to over-the-counter cold medicine or birth control pill packaging). The round white tablets contain one or two milligrams of flunitrazepam. They are odorless, tasteless, and dissolve undetected in liquid. In response to reports implicating Rohypnol in drug-facilitated sexual assaults, the manufacturer reformulated the tablets; they now appear as oblong green tablets that include a dye that turns blue when dissolved in liquid, which makes the drug more easily detected in some drinks.

Rohypnol remains readily available, mainly through pharmaceutical operators located in Mexico, especially Tijuana. Rohypnol is marketed by Hoffman-La Roche Inc. and is legally sold in Latin America and Europe as a short-term treatment for insomnia, and as a preanesthetic medication. One of the significant effects of the drug is anterograde amnesia, a factor that strongly contributed to its inclusion in the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996. Anterograde amnesia is a condition in which events that occurred while under the influence of the drug are forgotten.

Flunitrazepam can produce extreme sedation and often results in an overwhelmingly lethargic state. At higher levels, this causes users to suddenly feel as if they are extremely sleep deprived and have not slept for days, forcing them to sit down and generally feel as if they are constantly on the verge of passing out instead of engaging in physical activities. This sense of sleep deprivation increases proportional to dosage and eventually becomes powerful enough to force a person into complete unconsciousness.

Flunitrazepam is known to cause feelings of heaviness in the body. This effect can range from motor impairment and difficulty moving at lower doses to complete lethargy or inability to stand up or move at high doses.

The euphoria felt on flunitrazepam is significantly stronger than that felt on other benzodiazepines such as alprazolam.

In studies in Sweden, flunitrazepam was the second most common drug used in suicides, being found in about 16% of cases.

It is potentially lethal when mixed with depressants like alcohol or opioids.

Flunitrazepam is extremely physically and psychologically addictive.

Tolerance will develop to the sedative-hypnotic effects within a couple of days of continuous use.

Flunitrazepam presents cross-tolerance with all benzodiazepines, meaning that after its consumption, all benzodiazepines will have a reduced effect.

Flunitrazepam, said to be the most widely prescribed sedative and hypnotic in Europe. Street names include "circles," "Mexican Valium," "la rocha," "R2," "rib," "roaches," "roachies," "Roche," "roofenol," "roofies," "rope," "rophies," and "ruffies." Being under the influence of the drug is referred to as being "roached out." The effects of flunitrazepam begin within 30 minutes after ingestion, peak within 2 hours, and may persist for 8 hours or more.


Known as Rohypnol or 'roofies,' this infamous drug has similar qualities to most other benzodiazepines; sedating with strong hypnotic effects. Despite being known as a 'date rape drug' has only been implicated in a small number of such crimes. Danger of respiratory depression in combination with other depressants. May cause amnesia and lowered inhibitions in overdose.

RouteOnsetDurationAfter Effects
Tripsit Factsheets
All ROAs:15-30 minutes4-8 hours2-24 hours
Flunitrazepam Duration
Anxiolytic, Sedative, Muscle Relaxant, Amnesia, Dystaxia, Hypnotic.

Summary of Use During Lactation:
Flunitrazepam is not approved for marketing in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It is excreted into breastmilk and, because of its long half-life of about 20 hours, it may accumulate in the serum of breastfed infants with repeated doses.

Other agents are preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant.

After a single dose of flunitrazepam, as for sedation before a procedure, there is usually no need to wait to resume breastfeeding, although with a newborn or preterm infant, a cautious approach would be to wait a period of 6 to 8 hours before resuming nursing.

Alternate Drugs to Consider:

BFARM PDF Flunitrazepam

NDIC PDF Rohypnol

While use of flunitrazepam in sexual assault has been prominent in the media, as of 2015 appears to be fairly rare, and use of alcohol and other benzodiazepine drugs in date rape appears to be a larger but underreported problem.

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