Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam)

What is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is the more common name for a drug called flunitrazepam that was invented in 1972 and introduced into the European market by the Roche pharmaceutical company. It belongs to a family of drugs known as benzodiazepines with properties that are similar to those of Valium (diazepam).

Rohypnol is a drug that was designed to be used by hospitals to help induce deep sedation. It causes relaxation and sleepiness and can also help to control seizures and amnesia As a drug it is one of the most effective hypnotic medications and is most commonly used as a sleep treatment for insomnia.

The drug that is normally supplied in tablet-form. It was originally distributed in 1 mg and 2 mg doses, but due to its potency and potential for abuse, the higher dose Rohypnol was withdrawn from the market by the manufacturer.

Asa a drug of abuse, it is often crushed up into powder and added to liquid. It is difficult to detect being both colourless and odourless.

Rohypnol has an infamous reputation for being the “date-rape drug” because of its association with sexual assaults. This is because it of its potency and strong effects. Also the amnesia effect of the drug can result in a person forgetting what has happened to them after they have taken the drug.

Rohypnol As A Drug Of Abuse

Rohypnol can also be used as a recreational drug. It is used to produce intense intoxication, to heighten sedative effect in combination with heroin, or to lower the anxiety and/or sleeplessness of withdrawal. It can also help work against and soften the side effects of stimulants, such as cocaine or methamphetamine.

The drug is dangerous when taken on its own and can be fatally so when mixed with alcohol.

Street names for Rohypnol

Street names for drugs are common. This drug has a number of slang names including: Rope, R2, Forget-Pill, Narcozep, Rohypol, Roofies

Other common street names for Rohypnol include the “date rape drug” due to its frequent use in sexual assault cases, as well as “Mexican Valium” or simply “Roche” (named after the pharmaceutical company that produces the drug). The street names may vary depending on the region or community, but they all refer to the same powerful sedative that can cause memory loss and impair judgment when used improperly.

This drug no longer has a licence for use in the UK. In 1992 the NHS removed it from its allowed list of prescription drugs. However the 1mg does is available under private prescription.

In the UK, Rohypnol is a classified as a class C drug. For possession of the maximum sentence is anything up to 2 years with a possible fine. supplying the drug to others could result in a 5 year jail sentence.

A new drug driving law came into force in the United Kingdom on 2 March 2015. This legislation was introduced with the aim of making it easier for police to prosecute those who drive after taking illegal drugs or abusing medicinal drugs. Rohypnol was one of the 17 drugs listed as being controlled under this new legislation.

Under the new legislation, the threshold limit in microgrammes per litre of blood (µg/L) of Rohypnol is 300µg/L.

How long will it take to for Rohypnol to leave my system?

Detection time starts 2-8 hours after taking the drug. Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine drug and can be detected using a benzodiazepine drug test. A urine drug test for benzodiazepines can detect the drug up to 10 days after it has been taken. A saliva drug tests can pick up traces of the drug up to 3 days after usage.

  • Urine – Up to 10 days.
  • Hair – Up to 90 days.
  • Saliva – Up to 3 days.
  • Blood – Up to 1 day.

Rohypnol is one of the drugs that police will check as part of a national crackdown of drug driving. If you are stopped by the police and are drug tested at the roadside, the police will most likely use a “drugalyser” device. This is a type of saliva drug test. Zoom Testing can supply similar saliva tests for drug driving.

The Risks of Rohypnol

Rohypnol is a drug that slows down the central nervous system. The can cause a range of effects, which include:

  • exhaustion
  • sedation
  • confusion
  • impaired coordination
  • impaired judgement
  • loss of memory

The drug can cause you to become become physically and psychologically incapacitated. You won’t be able to move or think and you could even be knocked out. This is why the drug has been used in situations of sexual assault as it can quickly render the victim powerless or unconscious.

Rohypnol is sometimes used to spike drinks. In the past, the drug was easy to add to a drink as it was colourless and had no obvious taste. However, the drug was reformulated in 1997 to include a blue dye when added to light coloured drinks. However, be warned, generic Rohypnol
is still in circulation that does not contain the blue dye.

How to check if your drink has been spiked with Rohypnol.

If you are worried that you drink has been spiked, a simple drink spike test will alert you and you can then take action before it’s too late. Our drink spike test kit is designed to detect the drug benzodiazepine in a suspect drink or human urine. (Note: Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine drug)

It is also important to report drink spiking incidents to the authorities. Rohypnol and other drugs used to spike drinks are illegal and those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.

Remember, the best way to prevent drink spiking is to always keep an eye on your drink, never accept drinks from strangers, and never leave your drink unattended. Stay safe and be vigilant.

Photo Credit: “Ivo drops the rohypnol into @jilyjil01 ’” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gribiche

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated since.

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