Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol (“roofies”))

‘Rohypnol’ is a trade name for the drug flunitrazepam, a type of tranquilliser.

The law:
Flunitrazepam (trade name Rohypnol) is a type of tranquilliser. It is a prescription only drug: Class C penalties apply for unlawful possession and supply/possession with intent to supply.
There have been reports of flunitrazepam being used in sexual assaults. Under Section 61 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is a specific offence for a person administer a substance to somebody (or to cause somebody to take a substance) without their consent and with the intention of stupefying or overpowering them to enable the offender or any other person to engage in sexual activity with them. This offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. It is worth noting that the definition of a “substance” can also include alcohol.

Recognising Flunitrazepam and its Effects:
As a medicine, flunitrazepam is a tablet used to treat sleeplessness (insomnia), and for its calming and anaesthetic properties. It is often abused for the same purposes.
It is odourless, tasteless, and dissolves easily in drinks. However, pharmaceutically manufactured Rohypnol contains a blue dye, which is intended to change the colour of any drink it is dissolved in and make attempts to administer the drug in this way more obvious.

The effects, which can last for up to 12 hours, are made stronger by alcohol consumption.

People who have taken flunitrazepam may appear drowsy, disorientated or confused. They may have no memory of events that happened while they were under the influence of the drug.


Taking flunitrazepam can result in drowsiness, confusion, memory loss and dizziness.

As with other tranquillisers, it is very dangerous to mix flunitrazepam with alcohol or other drugs.

As stated above, reports have been made of flunitrazepam being used in sexual assaults. It is always wise to use caution and common sense when accepting drinks from other people, as it is possible to “spike” drinks with other substances. Alternatively, the drink may contain more alcohol than you expect, which can be hard to detect.