Depressants

Inhalants:  1.7% more 8th graders admitted to using inhalants in the last year than 10th graders (4.6% of 8th graders, 2.9% of 10th graders).

Depressants can also be used medicinally to relieve anxiety, irritability and tension. Like narcotics they come with a high potential for abuse. Users also develop tolerance to the drug so that as use continues they need more of the drug to get the same effects. Includes substances such as barbiturates, inhalants and benzodiazepines.

Barbiturates

OTHER NAMES

Pentobarbital (Nembutal); Secobarbital (Seconal); Amobarbital (Amytal) or Phenobarbital (Luminal) Barbs; Block Busters; Christmas trees; Goof Balls; Pinks; Red devils; Reds; Blues; Yellow jackets

HOW USED

Orally

CATEGORY

Depressant

GENERAL INFORMATION

Barbiturates were first introduced for medical use in the early 1900’s.  More than 2,500 have been synthesized and at the height of their popularity about 50 were marketed for human use.  The medical profession today commonly uses only about a dozen.

Barbiturates depress the central nervous system, resulting in mild sedation to coma depending on the dose.  They are used as sedatives, hypnotics, anesthetics, and anti-convulsants.  The difference of each product is how fast they produce an effect and how long the effects last.

Barbiturates are some of the most addictive drugs.  The combination of using barbiturates and other drugs is extremely dangerous and often fatal, especially when combined with other depressants.

IMMEDIATE SYMPTOMS

  • Relief of tension and anxiety
  • Sleepiness
  • Feeling of drunkenness/intoxication
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory impairment
  • Emotional instability
  • Impairment of motor coordination (walking, balance, etc)

LONG-TERM RISKS/POSSIBLE DAMAGE

  • Chronic tiredness
  • General lack of coordination
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed reflexes and response
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Breathing disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Tremors
  • Elevated blood pressure and pulse rate
  • Possible seizures

INDICATIONS OF USE

  • Colorful tablets
  • Pill bottles

Inhalants

OTHER NAMES

Nitrous oxide: Butyl Nitrite (Rush, Locker Room, Bolt, Climax, Video Head Cleaner); Amyl Nitrite (Poppers, Snappers); Adhesives (airplane glue, rubber cement, household glue); Aerosols (spray paint, hairspray, air freshener, deodorant); Solvents and Gases (nail polish remover, paint thinner, correction fluid, toxic markers, lighter fluid, butane, propane, helium, gasoline); Cleaning Agents (spot remover, degreaser, dry cleaning fluid)

HOW USED

Inhaled through nose and mouth

CATEGORY

Depressant

GENERAL INFORMATION

Although different in make up, nearly all abused inhalants produce similar effects to anesthetics, which act to slow down the body’s functions. When inhaled through the nose and/or mouth, even the smallest concentrations can cause intoxicating effects that can last from a few minutes or several hours. Initially users may feel slightly stimulated, however with successive inhalations they may feel less inhibited and out of control and can lose consciousness.

Inhalant abuse is deadly. Sniffing volatile solvents starves the body of oxygen and forces the heart to beat more rapidly and erratically. This can cause severe damage to the brain and nervous system or immediate death.

IMMEDIATE SYMPTOMS

  • Flushed face and neck
  • Rash around mouth and nose
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Slurred speech
  • Intense headache
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea Slowed thought process
  • Severe mood swings
  • Abusive or violent behavior
  • Nosebleeds
  • Numbness and tingling of feet and hands
  • Excessive secretions from nose and watery eyes
  • Drowsiness or Loss of consciousness (especially if engaged in vigorous activity following use)

LONG-TERM RISKS/POSSIBLE DAMAGE

  • Brain, liver, and bone marrow damage
  • Dangerous chemical imbalances in the body
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Lung Diseases
  • Hepatitis or peripheral neuropathy from long-time use
  • High risk of sudden death

INDICATIONS OF USE

  • Ampules (looks like smelling salts)
  • Possession of substances with no apparent purpose
  • Empty containers
  • Empty pill bottles
  • Excessive amounts of gauze or other material
  • Balloons

Tranquilizers (Benzodiazepines)

OTHER NAMES

Short-acting Benzodiazepines:
Estazolam (ProZam); Flurazepam (Dalmane); Temazepam (Restoril); Triazolam (Halcion); Midazolam (Versed)
Long-acting Benzodiazepines:
Diazepam (Valium); Alprazolam (Xanax); Chlordiazepoxide (Librium); Benzies; Benzos;

HOW USED

Orally

CATEGORY

Depressant

GENERAL INFORMATION

Benzodiazepines, or minor tranquilizers, are used therapeutically to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures.  Short-acting benzodiazepines are generally used for patients who are experiencing difficulty falling asleep (insomnia) without daytime anxiety or used in critical care settings and prior to anesthesia.  Long-acting benzodiazepines are used to treat insomnia patients who are experiencing daytime anxiety.

The drugs pose a variety of risks to users.  Prolonged use can lead to physical dependence, even at doses recommended for medical treatment.   It also intensifies the effects of other central nervous system depressants, raising risks of overdose. 

IMMEDIATE SYMPTOMS

  • Headaches
  • Reduced activity levels
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slurred speech
  • Constricted pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced inhibition

LONG-TERM RISKS/POSSIBLE DAMAGE

  • Amnesia
  • Hostility
  • Irritability
  • Vivid, disturbing dreams

INDICATIONS OF USE

  • Colorful tablets
  • Pill bottles

Learn more about how to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.