Depressants are substances which slow down the normal function of the central nervous system. These drugs include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. Marijuana and some inhalants are also depressants.
Barbiturates are a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics, commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. Commercial names include Amytal, Nembutal, and Phenobarbital.
Benzodiazepines (other than Flunitrazepam) are commonly prescribed as tranquilizers. These drugs are among the most widely prescribed medications in the US. Commercial names include Valium and Xanax.
Flunitrazepam, commercially known as Rohypnol, is a sedative associated with sexual assaults. This drug is not sold in the US, but may be brought in from other countries. Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is illegal in the US due to its sedative properties and frequent abuse in sexual assaults.
What do they look like?
Depressants come in many forms. Many depressants are available as pills, powders or liquids.
How are they used?
Depressants may be swallowed, injected, smoked or snorted. Depressants are commonly used to reduce anxiety, induce sleep and lower inhibitions.
What are their short-term effects?
The use of depressants can result in a slowed pulse and breathing, slurred speech, drowsiness, lowered blood pressure, poor concentration, fatigue and confusion, as well as impaired coordination, memory and judgment.
Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) may cause visual and gastrointestinal disturbances, urinary retention, and temporary memory loss.
What are their long-term effects?
Prolonged or heavy abuse of depressants can result in addiction, impaired sexual function, chronic sleep problems, respiratory depression and respiratory arrest, and death.
What is its federal classification?
Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)