Flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol among other names, is a benzodiazepine used to treat severe insomnia and assist with anesthesia. As with other hypnotics, flunitrazepam has been advised to be prescribed only on a short-term basis or by those with chronic insomnia on an occasional basis.
Rohypnol is a tranquilizer about ten times more potent than Valium. The drug is available as a white or olive-green pill and is usually sold in the manufacturer’s bubble packaging. Users crush the pills and snort the powder, sprinkle it on marijuana and smoke it, dissolve it in a drink or inject it.
Rohypnol has been used to commit sexual assaults because it renders the victim incapable of resisting, giving it the reputation of a “date-rape” drug.
Rohypnol users often describe its effects as “paralyzing.” The effects start twenty to thirty minutes after taking the drug, peak within two hours and may persist for eight or even twelve hours. A person can be so incapacitated (made unable to act) they collapse. They lie on the floor, eyes open, able to observe events but completely unable to move. Afterwards, memory is impaired and they cannot recall any of what happened.
The person experiences loss of muscle control, confusion, drowsiness and amnesia.
Rohypnol is sold in Europe and Latin America as a sleeping pill, but it is illegal in the United States.