If you watch any of the many police or medical shows out there, you’ve probably seen an episode where a criminal slips something into an unsuspecting girl’s drink while her back is turned. The world goes blurry, and the next thing the audience knows – depending on the show – she either wakes up captive or in the hospital. It’s a common trope in movies and television, but unfortunately it also happens all too often in real life. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys going to parties, bars, or clubs, you’ve probably been warned or heard horror stories about leaving your drink unattended. So what exactly is going into those drinks? The usual culprit is a drug called Rohypnol.

Rohypnol, the brand name for flunitrazepam, is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are man-made medications that cause mild to severe depression of the central nervous system as well as drowsiness or sedation. They can be used to treat nervousness, anxiety, panic disorders, muscle spasms, sleeplessness, alcohol withdrawal, and premenstrual syndrome. They’re also used for sedation during surgery. Some other benzos are Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. Rohypnol, however, is not approved for any medical use in the United States, although it is available as a prescription sleep aid in other countries.

Rohypnol has many street names, including: Circles, Date Rape Drug, Forget Pill, Forget-Me Pill, La Rocha, Lunch Money, Mexican Valium, Mind Eraser, Pingus, R2, Reynolds, Rib, Roach, Roach 2, Roaches, Roachies, Roapies, Rochas Dos, Roofies, Rope, Rophies, Row-Shay, Ruffies, Trip-and-Fall, Wolfies. It’s usually dissolved in a drink when given to someone without their knowledge, although it can also be swallowed in pill form or crushed and snorted. It’s especially dangerous when it’s combined with alcohol, which can cause extreme sedation, unconsciousness, and slowed heart rate and breathing, which can lead to death.

The short term effects of Rohypnol are drowsiness, sedation, sleep, amnesia, blackout, decreased anxiety, muscle relaxation, impaired reaction time and motor coordination, impaired mental functioning and judgment, confusion, aggression, excitability, slurred speech, headache, and slowed breathing and heart rate. You can see why Rohypnol is referred to and used as a date rape drug. It makes people too pliable and confused to understand what’s happening, never mind trying to fight back. It typically causes some selective amnesia, as well, meaning that the victim often won’t be able to remember what happened to them and isn’t able to identify their attacker.


Rohypnol isn’t always a date rape drug. It’s also been used knowingly and recreationally by people since the 1990s to offset some of the side effects of stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Its effects appear 15 to 20 minutes after administration and last approximately four to six hours.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.