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Flunitrazepam is marketed by Roche the creater as Rohypnol and is advertised as a hypnotic drug and has sedative, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, amnestic, hypnotic and skeletal muscle relaxant properties. A short-intermediate acting benzodiazepine derivative, Rohypnol is prescribed for the treatment of severe insomnia.

The prescription of Rohypnol as a hypnotic is generally intended to be for short-term treatment of chronic, or severe insomnias that are not responsive to other hypnotics, especially in inpatients. Just as with other hypnotics, Rohypnol should only be used on a short term basis or in those with chronic insomnia on an occasional basis. The drug has in recent years had high notoriety as a date rape drug.

Rohypnol is classed as a nitrobenzodiazepine. It was developed by combining nitrazepam with fluorine. Rohypnol as with other benzodiazepine drugs can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Discontinuation may result in the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued. Abrupt withdrawal may lead to a severe benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome characterised by seizures, psychosis, severe insomnia and severe anxiety.

Rohypnol is known to induce amnesia in sufficient doses; individuals are unable to remember certain events that they experienced while under the influence of the drug. This effect is particularly dangerous when Rohypnol is used to aid in the commission of sexual assault; victims may not be able to clearly recall the assault, the assailant, or the events surrounding the assault.

It must be noted that an inability to remember events, including sexual encounters, is not conclusive evidence of having consumed a drugged drink: alcohol cause blackouts, sleepiness, and a reduction in inhibitions. Only a timely screening for flunitrazepam can demonstrate its use. A recent study conducted by doctors in the U.K. found that none of the subjects reporting spiked drinks had any traces of flunitrazepam or other medications popularly believed to be associated with drug assisted rape such as GHB. The study results suggest that binge drinking is much more commonly to blame for drug assisted rapes.

Rohypnol is used frequently as a recreational drug. It is used by college students, rave party attendees, and heroin and cocaine users for recreational purposes, including:

- To produce profound intoxication (Kurt Cobain overdosed on a mixture of Rohypnol and champagne several weeks before his death)
- To increase sedative effect in combination with heroin, or ease the anxiety and/or sleeplessness of withdrawal
- To counteract the side effects of stimulants (e.g. insomnia, paranoia, jitteriness)
- To "soften" the so-called "crash" which follows heavy usage of stimulants, such as cocaine or methamphetamine

Rohypnol is usually consumed in pill form. Less commonly tablets are crushed into powder and snorted.

Street names for Rohypnol include "rowies", "rophy", "ruffles", "roachies", "roofies", "ruffies", "ruff up", "rib", "roach 2 (R2)", "roche", "rope", "ropies", "circles", "circes", "forget it" , "forget-me-pill", "Mexican Valium" and "rapies".

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