What are tranquillisers?
Tranquillisers also known as sedatives are man-made drugs,
they are usually prescribed by doctors as short-term treatments for
depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia (difficulty in sleeping). In
the UK tranquillisers are prescribed to twice as many women as men.
The most commonly prescribed tranquillisers are from the
class of drugs called benzodiazepines (benzos) and are known as minor
tranquillisers. There are various benzos and they are usually known
by their brand names, a few of the well known products include:
- Valium the generic name is diazepam.
- Ativan the generic name is lorazepam.
- Mogadon the generic name is nitrazepam. On the
street they may be called moggies.
- Normison the generic name is temazepam. On the
street they may be called jellies or eggs.
- Rohypnol the generic name is flunitrazepam.
On the street they may be called roofies, rope
or the forget-pill.
Why are tranquillisers used as drugs
The easy availability of tranquillisers
has made them common as drugs of abuse. Some drug abusers take tranquillisers
to bring them down after using stimulants such as ecstasy or cocaine.
Others take them to enhance the effect of alcohol.
Temazepam has become a street drug
as a substitute for heroin and Rohypnol is the tranquilliser most
associated with "date rape" as it has been known to be used
to spike drinks. The victim is often unaware that they have been slipped
a drug and while under the influence they are vulnerable to sexual abuse
We offer a test on this site which allows you to easily
test your drink or urine for the presence of any benzos (rohypnol).
For more information on rohypnol, date rape and the available test click
What do tranquillisers look like?
Tranquillisers usually come in the
form of white tablets or capsules. They might come in different colours
depending on their strength. Temazepam is also produced as a gel in
a capsule and as a liquid.
How are tranquillisers taken?
For medical use tranquillisers are usually taken as tablets
or capsules that are swallowed. They are usually used the same way as
street drugs but sometimes tranquillisers can be prepared for injection.
This can be carried out by either emptying the contents of the capsules
or by crushing the tablets. Injecting is very dangerous and can be lethal.
What are the immediate effects of
Tranquillisers calm the user down and reduce feelings
of agitation and restlessness, they also slow down mental activity and
produce drowsiness. Tranquillisers can have have a relaxing effect on
the muscles. High doses
of tranquillisers can make users forgetful, dizzy and can induce sleep.
The effects of tranquillisers
can begin after 10-40 minutes and can last for 3-6 hours but this depends
greatly on the drug used and the strength prescribed.
is a high risk of accidents when driving or operating machinery when
on tranquillisers. Some tranquillisers can cause a temporary loss of
short-term memory, and an increase in aggression.
If mixed with alcohol or other depressant drugs
tranquillisers can be extremely dangerous and can cause a fatal overdose.
What are the long-term effects of
A low dosage of tranquillisers prescribed for a short
period of time is unlikely to pose any greater risk to health. However,
if you take tranquillisers regularly a tolerance can develop, so you
will need to take more to get the same effect and you may also find
you become dependent on them. Therefore it is recommended that tranquillisers
are not used for long periods, and should not be taken for more than
a 2-4 week period. If you are taking them for insomnia a 2-3 night break
from the tranquillisers each week is recommended.
After 2-3 weeks of continuous use tranquillisers may become
ineffective as sleeping pills and after 4 months ineffective against
Long term use of tranquillisers can cause depression,
memory loss, mental confusion, stomach disorders and aggressive behaviour.
The withdrawal effects can be very unpleasant and include
sickness, headaches, irritability, anxiety, nausea and in some cases
panic attacks. If you have been on tranquillisers for some time you
should come off them gradually over a period of time and with medical
supervision. Never stop taking them suddenly and always ask your doctor
for advice when taking tranquillisers or when trying to quit taking
What class drug are tranquillisers?
Possession of tranquillisers is not illegal without a
doctor's prescription (except for rohypnol and temazepam) however, supply
is against the law and class C penalties apply. If you are found in
the possession of rohypnol or temazepam without a doctor's prescription
it is an offence, with a maximum sentence of 2 years and an unlimited
fine or both.
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