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Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 1, 2019

Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) is a sedative-hypnotic prescription drug. Typically used for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders, Rohypnol affects the central nervous system. The drug belongs to a bigger class of depressant drugs called benzodiazepines. Due to the way these drugs affect the body, they can be addictive and have a high rate of abuse.

About Rohypnol

Rohypnol works by suppressing functions of the central nervous system (CNS). The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) states, “this depressed CNS activity manifests as sedation, sleep, muscle relaxation, and reduced anxiety.” When people abuse Rohypnol, these effects are enhanced and can be dangerous. When mixed with other depressants like alcohol, Rohypnol can have severe side effects, such as blackouts, stupor, respiratory depression, and in extreme cases, death.

Rohypnol is available in tablet form. The correct method of administration is oral use. With this method, a person taking the drug will feel its effects within 15 to 20 minutes. When abused, Rohypnol is usually crushed and snorted or injected—forcing the effects to happen sooner. It may also be abused with other recreational drugs, such as marijuana.

How Is Rohypnol Abused?

Rohypnol, like many benzodiazepines (benzos), are prescribed for a short period of a few days. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) explains that benzodiazepines are often the medication physicians choose for many disorders because of the symptoms associated with these disorders. Symptoms of some anxiety and sleep disorders may come and go during different periods of a person’s life. Taking benzos allows a person to take medication as needed, rather than on a regular basis. However, when a person begins taking benzos regularly and moves from use to abuse, that person can develop addiction. For prescription drug addiction, the best method of recovery is treatment.

What Are The Side Effects Of Rohypnol?

Central nervous system depressants work by inhibiting brain activity; they cause the relaxed calm state which allows relief from anxiety disorders or helps a person sleep. When a person abuses Rohypnol, he or she may force the release of these effects, resulting in enhanced or quicker side effects. Some of these can be adverse to a person’s health, especially when taking a higher or more frequent dosage than directed.

Side effects of Rohypnol include:

  • aggressive behavior
  • blackouts: similar to alcohol intoxication, a person may forget what happened while he or she took Rohypnol
  • confusion
  • decrease in blood pressure
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • feeling of extreme relaxation: produces a feeling of intoxication similar to the effects of alcohol
  • headaches
  • high degree of excitability
  • impaired coordination
  • lack of inhibitions: this can cause a person to have little or no control over social behavior and thoughts
  • nightmares
  • problems with vision
  • relaxation of muscles

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What Are The Risks Of Abusing Benzodiazepines?

Though the effects of overdose for benzodiazepines like Rohypnol are not always fatal, combined with other substances death can occur from overdose. One of the greater risks of addiction to benzos is that they are typically taken with other substances. Benzos produce milder effects than some other recreational drugs. Used with alcohol or other depressants, people abusing benzos achieve a more extreme high, but put themselves at greater risk of overdose. People who already have addictions to recreational stimulant narcotics, such as heroin or cocaine, may also abuse benzos in order to come “down” off their high.

Therefore, it is best to seek treatment for benzodiazepine abuse before developing further addiction. Combining the effects of benzos like Rohypnol with other drugs can have fatal results. Before your loved one gets to that point, inpatient rehab centers may be the best option for recovery.

How Common Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Abuse, or misuse, of prescription drugs includes CNS depressants like Rohypnol, opioids, and stimulants. Prescription drug abuse affects approximately 54 million people in the United States, as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This number accounts for 20 percent of people age 12 and above who have misused prescription drugs at least once in their lives.

Who Is Affected By Prescription Drug Abuse?

Though anyone can be affected by prescription drug abuse, adolescents, women, and some older adults may be at increased risk. Prescription drugs are often abused simply due to the ready availability; many people who abuse them first obtained the prescription for a disorder or pain ailment. The NIDA explains, “misinformation about the addictive properties of prescription opioids and the perception that prescription drugs are less harmful than illicit drugs are other possible contributors to the problem.” To date, inpatient treatment which includes behavioral therapy has been most effective for recovery.

Where Do People Obtain Prescription Drugs?

While some people who abuse prescription drugs have a personal prescription, when that prescription runs out, these drugs are easily obtained on the streets. Because people can easily receive them with a doctor’s order, and they produce quick results, many individuals turn to prescription medications for a quick fix or to supplement other substance abuse. Many people may also receive medications from a friend or relative. In fact, people often give others medication because they are unaware of the harmful effects or risk of abuse of some medications.

How Can You Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prevention is key to helping a person avoid developing addiction. Because medications like Rohypnol are generally obtained through a prescription, avoid abuse by always taking the medication as prescribed. Don’t increase frequency or dosage without first speaking to your doctor. When finished with a medication, dispose of it properly. Leaving it in the medicine cabinet allows easy access for teens or other relatives, or allows you the opportunity to give it to someone you may feel is in need. Keep track of your medication, and when necessary, store it in a secured place.

How Can Rehab Centers Help Overcome Addiction?

For individuals already affected by addiction, treatment is the surest recourse. The best rehab centers offer inpatient stays. During an inpatient stay, recovering individuals complete recovery in rehab facilities with professional care. This can make a vast difference in recovery success. With daily care and strength in support, rehab centers offer the helping hand usually needed by healing, addicted individuals.

Treatment centers vary in approaches to treatment. Some offer gender-specific treatment, catering to the specific treatment needs of men, women, and adolescents. Others may provide faith-based healing. Still, others may focus on alternative recovery methods, such as adventure therapy and holistic healing. Whichever treatment path an individual chooses to follow, we at can help you get there.

Find Rohypnol Addiction Treatment

In 2014, more than two million Americans reported prescription drug abuse in the past year, according to the NIDA. Abuse of benzodiazepines like Rohypnol coupled with other substances can have fatal results. Before your loved one suffers this risk, help him or her find the proper treatment. Contact us today at to learn more about our inpatient rehab centers.

American Academy Of Family Physicians - Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines—Side Effects, Abuse Risk And Alternatives - Benzodiazepine Abuse

Center For Abuse Substance Research - Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)

Medical News Today - Benzodiazepines: Uses, Side Effects, And Risks

National Institute On Drug Abuse - How Do CNS Depressants Affect The Brain And Body?

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