OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Depressants

Commonly Abused Prescription Depressants

Prescription depressants are used as popular sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. They work by increasing the amount of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) neurotransmitters in the brain to produce a calming effect on the central nervous system that reduces anxiety and over-stimulation and induces feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

Prescription depressants are grouped into three drug classes: Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan; Barbiturates, like Nembutal; and Sedative-Hypnotics like Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata.

Benzodiazepine drugs can be prescribed for general anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorders, phobias, mania, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and insomnia.

Barbiturates are common in the treatment of anxiety, seizures, epilepsy, insomnia, and migraines.  They can also be used as a general anesthesia.

Sedative-Hypnotics or prescription sleep aids treat sleep disorders, insomnia and some brain disorders.

Prescription depressants are habit-forming if used for an extended period, even if taken in prescribed dosages. Continued usage of these drugs will create an increased tolerance that can lead to abuse and addiction.

The following is a list of the most commonly abused prescription depressants; their street names; how they’re administered; and their short and long-term health effects.

If you suspect a loved one is struggling with an addiction to prescription depressants, call us at 1-877-353-2777 for help. The Farm in Stouffville is a private residential drug and alcohol treatment centre in the Greater Toronto Area.

 

XANAX (Alprazolam)

Street Names: Xannies or Zannies, Xanbar or Zanbar, X, Handlebars, Bars, Z-Bars, Upjohn, Benzos, Bicycle Parts, Yellow Boys, Bricks, Footballs, Blue Footballs, Planks, School Bus, White Boys, White Girls.

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, smoked, as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Xanax Use: drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, headache, confusion, muscle weakness, stomach discomfort, shortness of breath, dry mouth, blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty urinating, chest pain, excessive sweating, jaundice, constipation, rash, mood swings, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, memory loss, impaired motor function, fainting, nausea, and vomiting.

Long-Term Health Effects from Xanax Abuse: impotence, insomnia, delirium, amnesia, brain damage, psychotic episodes, coma, overdose, suicide, and death.

 

VALIUM (Diazepam)

Street Names: Vs, Yellow Vs, Blue Vs, Benzos, Downers, Dead Flower Powers, Foo-Foo, Sleep Away, Howards, Tranks, Drunk Pills

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, smoked, as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Valium Use: drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, disorientation, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, dry mouth, blurred vision, slurred speech, shallow breathing, trouble urinating, nightmares, euphoria, mood swings, depression, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Long-Term Health Effects from Valium Abuse: risky behaviour, panic attacks, hallucinations, tremors, memory loss, seizures, coma, heart attack, overdose, suicide, and death.

 

KLONOPIN (Clonazepam)

Street Names: KPin, K, Pin, Super Valium, Benzos, Tranks, Downers

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, smoked, as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Ativan Use: drowsiness, dizziness, headache, disorientation, muscle weakness, lack of coordination, confusion, loss of appetite, blurred vision, slurred speech, muscle aches, skin rash, trouble breathing, low blood pressure, decreased sex drive, nightmares, agitation, mood swings, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, fainting, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Ativan Abuse: insomnia, hallucinations, memory loss, tremors, seizures, brain damage, coma, overdose, suicide, and death.

 

ATIVAN (Lorazepam)

Street Names: Candy, Control, Silence, R2, Goofballs, Emotion, Downers, Benzos, Nerve Pills, Trances

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, smoked, as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Ativan Use: drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, headache, disorientation, loss of balance, confusion, muscle weakness, heartburn, loss of appetite, blurred vision, slurred speech, low blood pressure, excessive sweating, mouth sores, skin rash, constipation, trouble breathing, euphoria, mood swings, anxiety nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Ativan Abuse: insomnia, depression, hallucinations, paranoia, memory loss, cognitive impairment, tremors, seizures, respiratory arrest, kidney failure, overdose, suicide, and death.

 

NEMBUTAL (Pentobarbital)

Street Names: Nembies, Yellow Jackets, Yellows, Abbots, Mexican Yellow, Barbs, Downers, Phennies

Administered: swallowed, injected, snorted, as a suppository

 Short Term Heath Effects of Nembutal Use: drowsiness, lethargy, dizziness, nervousness, headache, disorientation, loss of coordination, irritability, exhilaration, aggression, anxiety, nightmares, low blood pressure, shallow breathing, joint pain, muscle aches, slurred speech, blurred vision, skin rash, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Long-Term Health Effects from Nembutal Abuse: depression, insomnia, respiratory depression, anemia, cognitive issues, kidney damage, liver failure, coma, overdose, suicide, and death.

 

AMBIEN (Zolpidem)

Street Names: No-Gos, A-Minus, Zombie Pills, Sleep Easy, Tic-Tacs

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected

Short Term Heath Effects of Ambien Use: drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, headache, confusion, clumsiness, muscle weakness, dry mouth, blurry vision, muscle pain, sleep walking, sleep eating, slowed breathing, impaired judgement, delusions, euphoria, depression, anxiety, aggression, nightmares, nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Ambien Abuse: tremors, hallucination, blackouts, memory loss, sexual disfunction, insomnia, respiratory failure, overdose, suicide, and death.

 

LUNESTA (Eszopiclone)

Street Names: Sleepers, Zombies, Sleep Easy

 Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Lunesta Use: drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, headache, loss of appetite, heartburn, fever, cough, sleep walking, sleep eating, painful urination, body aches, stomach pain, skin rash, constipation, mood swings, depression, anxiety, aggression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Lunesta Abuse: hallucinations, insomnia, memory loss, tremors, seizures, overdose, suicide and death.

 

SONATA (Zaleplon)

Street Names: Zimmers, Zimmies,

 Administered: swallowed, snorted, as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Sonata Use: drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, headache, confusion, sleep walking, sleep eating, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, loss of coordination, numbness, upset stomach, dry mouth, itching, body pain, constipation, rash, trouble breathing, mood swings, aggression, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, fainting, nausea, and vomiting.

Long-Term Health Effects from Sonata Abuse: blackouts, amnesia, seizures, cognitive impairment, coma, overdose, suicide, and death.

 

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