Originally developed to ease pain and anxiety, Rohypnol, or roofies, has gained a nefarious reputation as a drug secretly slipped into a person’s drink at a club or party, rendering them unconscious and easy to take advantage of. Because the substance is colorless and odorless, it’s hard to detect, and most people don’t realize they’ve consumed it until the effects start kicking in. Understanding how long a roofie stays in your system and how it can affect the body can help you and your friends seek necessary help and stay safe in a potentially dangerous situation.

If you’ve used this pill for insomnia, this guide will help you understand how long a roofie stays in your system and possible side effects such as dependence. We’ll also explore ways to seek help if you want to stop using Rohypnol or think someone slipped this drug into your drink at a party or bar.

What Is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is the brand name for a strong sedative called flunitrazepam, which is a type of tranquilizer called a benzodiazepine. You may also hear this drug called a forget-me pill, rope, R2, la rocha, circles, Mexican Valium or most commonly, roofies. It may be known as Rufilin in some countries.

Rohypnol is called the “date rape drug” because it can be put in someone’s drink and make it easier for sexual assault to occur. This type of drink spiking can be difficult to detect because the initial symptoms may mimic drunkenness. In addition to sedation, the effects of the drug include amnesia, muscle relaxation and lowered inhibitions. The person eventually becomes fully incapacitated and often lies down, unable to respond or take action. Some formulations of the drug come as a green pill with a core that releases blue dye if someone puts it in your drink; however, generic roofies don’t include this safety feature.

Some people use Rohypnol to ease insomnia, and it’s prescribed legally for this purpose in many other countries. Others use roofies as a party drug, sometimes when coming down from cocaine or to enhance the euphoria produced by opiates.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers Rohypnol a Schedule IV controlled substance. That means it has legitimate medical use but can cause serious side effects, including physical and psychological addiction. The drug, which was first used in 1974 to assist with the effects of surgical anesthesia, is no longer legally available in the United States.

What Are the Effects of Rohypnol?

Both Rohypnol and generic flunitrazepam, which comes as a small white tablet, may be snorted, dissolved in liquid or swallowed. Some people smoke the powder in a joint or bowl with cannabis. Its effects depress the central nervous system, which causes symptoms such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Amnesia
  • Aggression
  • Confusion
  • Slurred words
  • Loss of balance, motor control and coordination
  • Decreased reaction time
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Respiratory depression, which can be life-threatening

How long does a Roofie stay in your system?

How Long Does a Roofie Stay in Your System?

Roofies and their metabolites stay in your system for days, but the peak activity occurs at around 2 hours and the effects typically wear off about 8 to 12 hours after ingestion. For some people, it may take up to 24 hours for all symptoms to subside. The actual symptoms of taking roofies begin to appear within 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion and include a loss of motor control, muscle relaxation and amnesia. The effects may be stronger if the person has also been drinking alcohol or taking other sedatives. Body weight and individual metabolism can also affect the exact timing of the onset of symptoms and how long this drug stays in your system.

A few types of tests can identify if roofies were ingested even after symptoms are gone. A urine test can detect roofies for up to 72 hours, but the sooner the test is administered, the better. If roofies have been mixed with other substances, such as alcohol, this could lengthen the potential detection time line. Because it isn’t included in standard drug panels, specific tests must be ordered to detect Rohypnol.

If you think someone put roofies in your drink or a friend’s drink, understanding how long this drug stays in your system could help keep you safe. You’ll typically start to feel the effects of Rohypnol about 15 to 20 minutes after taking the drug. Disorientation, loss of coordination and muscle weakness are often the first signs of roofie ingestion.

If you suspect someone has been given this drug without their knowledge, it’s essential to get the person to a safe place and away from strangers or companions who might have slipped them the drug and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If you’re wondering how long roofies last, the effects can vary. You’ll usually experience the strongest symptoms during the first 6 hours after ingesting the drug, but it takes up to 12 hours for the major effects to completely wear off for most people. Because one of the symptoms is amnesia, you may not remember taking the drug or anything that happened for up to 12 hours after that. This can make it difficult for people who’ve been given roofies without their knowledge to identify who gave it to them.

Drug Tests for Roofies

Roofies can cause temporary amnesia for a day or longer, which can delay a person from seeking help or getting tested. Some people may also feel embarrassed or ashamed about being drugged or fear legal repercussions, discouraging them from getting a roofie drug test. However, getting tested is the best way to detect any drug traces in your system so you can take appropriate action for your own health and well-being.

Several testing methods can detect roofies in your system, even weeks after ingestion:

  • Urine test. A urine sample is one of the best ways to detect flunitrazepam within the first 48 to 72 hours after drug consumption. The test is used to identify metabolites associated with roofies and can be easily accessed by going to a clinic and explaining the circumstances for needing a test.
  • Hair test. If the first 72 hours have passed, a hair test may be the next best option. Hair tests can detect Rohypnol for up to 28 days after use.
  • Blood test. Blood screening isn’t frequently used to test for roofies, but it can detect drug traces up to 24 hours after consumption. A blood test can also pick up smaller drug traces if you’re tested shortly after ingestion occurred. However, the test’s short time line doesn’t make it the most reliable option.
  • Self-administered test. Some companies offer at-home drug testing kits, allowing a person to take a sample to send in for evaluation. While this can be a valid and convenient option, a test administered by a medical professional may be more reliable.

Stay Safe From Roofies

how to stay safe from Rohypnol

Because roofie ingestion often occurs unexpectedly, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings while at a bar, club or party. There are a few safety measures you can take, such as:

  • Bringing a trusted friend with you
  • Throwing out your drink if it doesn’t taste right
  • Keeping your drink on you at all times or throwing it out if it ends up in a stranger’s possession
  • Refusing drinks from strangers
  • Pouring your own drinks or only accepting drinks from a bartender

If you believe you or a friend has been drugged, seek medical attention or call 911 immediately. Leaving the location for a safer place and getting tested as soon as possible are crucial to ensuring you or your friend receives adequate care.

What Are the Dangers of Self-Medicating With Rohypnol?

Dangers of Self-Medicating with Rohypnol

Rohypnol has uncomfortable as well as dangerous side effects. You may experience:

  • Anterograde amnesia, which means you can’t remember what happened after taking the substance
  • Stomach issues
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea

Roofies are addictive, which means you may go through physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking the drug after you’ve been using it for a while. You can overdose on roofies if you take too much of the drug. This danger arises when dependence develops and you need to take more of the substance to get the intended effects, whether you’re looking for relaxation or relief for insomnia.

How to Get Help

If you or a loved one needs help with addiction to prescription drugs such as Rohypnol, it’s time to contact Sunlight Recovery. Reach out today for a private consultation with one of our professional counselors to determine the best course of action toward a healthier life.