Melanie Vernon
Keyarah Jones


What are depressants?

Depressants are drugs that slow down the normal function of the central nervous system (CNS) and suppress the neural activities in the brain. Depressants work by affecting the part of the brain that controls a persons bodily functions like breathing and heartbeat. Depressants affect each person differently; response times to depressants can range from immediate to several hours.
Examples of depressants are alcohol, marijuana, inhalants and prescription drugs. The prescription drugs that affect the central nervous system are also referred to as downers, sedatives, hypnotics, minor tranquilizers, and anxiolytics or anti-anxiety medications.

Why do people take depressants?

Depressants are prescribed by doctors to tranquilize and/or relieve anxiety, irritability, and tension; some may also be used to sedate or induce sleep.



Slang Name

downers, goofballs, barbs, blue devils, yellow jackets, ludes

What do they look like ?

Multi-colored tablets and capsules

Short-term effects

are those that appear rapidly after a single dose and disappear within a few hours or days. With barbiturates, a small dose (e.g. 50 mg or less) may relieve anxiety and tension. A somewhat larger dose (e.g. 100 to 200 mg) will, in a tranquil setting, usually induce sleep. An equivalent dose in a social setting, however, may produce effects similar to those of drunkenness - a "high" feeling, slurred speech, staggering, slowed reactions, loss of inhibition, and intense emotions often expressed in an extreme and unpredictable manner. High doses characteristically produce slow, shallow, and irregular breathing, and can result in death from respiratory arrest.

Non-medical users often start taking barbiturates at doses within a safe therapeutic range. As tolerance develops, however, they progressively increase their daily dose to many times the original. It is extremely important to note that in spite of acquiring tolerance to the intoxicating effects of barbiturates, the user develops no tolerance to the lethal action of the drug Therefore, high doses could produce fatal results even for tolerant abusers.

Taking barbiturates with other CNS depressants - e.g. alcohol; tranquillizers; such opioids as heroin, morphine, meperidine (Demerol), codeine, or methadone; and antihistamines (found in cold, cough, and allergy remedies) - can be extremely dangerous.

Long term effects

: particularly of protracted high-dose abuse - is not unlike a state of chronic inebriation. Symptoms include the impairment of memory and judgment; hostility, depression, or mood swings; chronic fatigue; and stimulation of preexisting emotional disorders, which may result in paranoia or thoughts of suicide.


Slang name

downs, tranks


are drugs used to treat anxiety or problems with sleep. They have a calming effect by depressing the nervous system in a way similar to alcohol. Tranquilizers are among the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications. The FDA estimates that over 60 million people receive prescriptions for tranquilizers every year.

In some ways, the term "tranquilizer" is inaccurate. Although they may produce specific anxiety-reducing effects, the members of the tranquilizer group of drugs have the same clinical effects as sedatives [ Sedatives] such as the barbiturates (downers). The much-sought relaxing and anxiety-reducing effects of the tranquilizers are simply the early stages of the biochemical process of sedation. The effects of sedation are a continuum from relaxation to significant sedation to coma to death. Central nervous system depressants, including minor tranquilizers, sedatives, and alcohol, place the user on the sedation continuum. The specific dosage and drug used determines how far the user goes on that pathway.

Tranquilizers are frequently abused because of their ability to reduce anxiety. They are addictive because tolerance develops rapidly, and more and more are needed to be effective.


Minor Tranquilizers

The most commonly known forms of tranquilizers are the benzodiazepines (or "benzos"). These include Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Librium. Those with sedating effects are used as sleeping pills, such as Restoril, Halcion, Dalmane, Serax, and others (see sedatives).

Major Tranquilizers

Major tranquilizers are called "anti-psychotics" because they are generally used to treat symptoms of paranoia, psychosis, or serious distortions in the perception of reality such as hallucinations or delusions. These drugs include Haldol, Navane, Thorazine, Mellaril, and others. They are not central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines but can be sedating in higher doses. While they are not useful in normal alcohol withdrawal, they can be useful for the psychosis and agitation associated with Delirium Tremens (DTs).

Methods of Use

Tranquilizers are usually swallowed or injected.

Effects on the Central Nervous System

Minor tranquilizers seem to have direct depressant effects on brain areas that regulate wakefulness and alertness, very similar in effect to alcohol and sedative barbiturates. They enhance the action of receptors that inhibit central nervous system stimulation, and conversely, inhibit the action of receptors that stimulate the nervous system. In other words, if the nervous system were a car, these drugs help press down the brakes but make it harder to press down on the gas.

Since the minor tranquilizers of the benzodiazepine family have an effect similar to alcohol on the nervous system, they are useful in treating alcohol withdrawal. Those with a longer duration of action, such as Librium and Valium, are used most often.

Major tranquilizers primarily affect specific receptors in the brain that reduce psychotic thoughts, perceptions and agitation.


Tranquilizers are powerful drugs that can impair our ability to function and should only be used as directed by a physician. Abusive or improper use may result in unpleasant and/or dangerous side effects such as:
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A "floating" or disconnected sensation
  • Depressed heartbeat
  • Depressed breathing
  • Excessive sleep and sleepiness
  • Mental confusion and memory loss
  • Addiction

Life Risks

Tranquilizers are particularly dangerous in combination with other depressants, such as alcohol or barbiturates, because they magnify each other's effects. In some rare instances, tranquilizers may produce a so-called "paradoxical effect," leading to increased anxiety and agitation. Paradoxical reactions may be more common among children and the elderly. Long-term use of some of these drugs has been associated with increased aggressivity and significant depression. Tranquilizer use may be associated with memory problems and cerebral atrophy (brain shrinkage).


Essentially, withdrawal symptoms for the tranquilizers feel like the opposite of the therapeutic effects. The short-acting benzodiazapines (Xanax, Halcion, Restoril, Ativan, and Serax) can produce especially severe withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms, that are similar to those in alcohol withdrawal, include jittery, shaky feelings and any of the following:
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shaky hands
  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and agitation

Medical Uses
Psychiatrists and other doctors may prescribe tranquilizers to reduce severe anxiety or nervousness, often to enable a very anxious person to talk to a counselor. Doctors may also prescribe them for certain kinds of muscle problems.



Slang name

Booze, brews, hard stuff, hooch, juice, sauce

When was alcohol discoverd?

Alcoholic beverages were probably discovered accidentally when people tasted alcohol in rotten, fermenting fruit. Scenes showing the process of fermentation appear on Mesopotamian pottery as early as 4200 BC.
What does it look like?
Alcohol is used in liquid form.

How is it used?
Alcohol is drunk. Types include beer, wine, and liquor.

What are its short-term effects?
When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed by the stomach, enters the bloodstream, and goes to all the tissues. The effects of alcohol are dependent on a variety of factors, including a person's size, weight, age, and sex, as well as the amount of food and alcohol consumed. The disinhibiting effect of alcohol is one of the main reasons it is used in so many social situations. Other effects of moderate alcohol intake include dizziness and talkativeness; the immediate effects of a larger amount of alcohol include slurred speech, disturbed sleep, nausea, and vomiting. Alcohol, even at low doses, significantly impairs the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol can also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including domestic violence and child abuse. Hangovers are another possible effect after large amounts of alcohol are consumed; a hangover consists of headache, nausea, thirst, dizziness, and fatigue.

What are its long-term effects?
Prolonged, heavy use of alcohol can lead to addiction (alcoholism). Sudden cessation of long term, extensive alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol, especially when combined with poor nutrition, can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver. In addition, mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may suffer from mental retardation and other irreversible physical abnormalities. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.

Why Do Teens Drink?

Experimentation with alcohol during the teen years is common. Some reasons that teens use alcohol and other drugs are:
  • curiosity
  • to feel good, reduce stress, and relax
  • to fit in
  • to feel older
From a very young age, kids see advertising messages showing beautiful people enjoying life — and alcohol. And because many parents and other adults use alcohol socially — having beer or wine with dinner, for example — alcohol seems harmless to many teens.

Think Before You Drink


There really aren't any unless your under age. If you are under age and you drink you will be arrested and parent would get in trouble.depending on what u did while u was drunk is how long you will be in jail. otherwise if your just drink theres a fine of $300. If liquour is sold to someon under 21 there is fine of $2000 or 6 moths of jail or both. You must have a license to sell alcohol. alcohol edu