Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)


Rohypnol was developed by the Swiss company Hoffman- La Roche, who had been working with benzodiazepines since the 1950s, in 1975. Its potential for misuse was quickly recognised, but it was not until 1995 that the UN reclassified it from a Schedule IV to a Schedule III drug (meaning greater restrictions on its prescription were required). It was known to be used on the gay scene in the 1980s/1990s.

Despite the negative associations with the drug, Rohypnol continues to be a popular sedative due to its fast and long acting effects, although doctors are now far more cautious in prescribing it. There remains a small but significant black market for the drug.