Barbiturates are synthetic drugs used in medicine to depress the central nervous system. The effects range from mild sedation to coma and they may be used a sedatives, hypnotics or as part of anesthesia. Some barbiturates are used to relieve tension or anxiety prior to surgery.
Many barbiturates are available in oral form, so typical abuse is through oral ingestion (swallowing the tablet). But for a quicker onset of the drug’s effects, some may choose to inject the drug directly into their veins. In this way, barbiturate abuse looks a lot like heroin abuse.
Benzodiazepines were developed to replace barbiturates, though they still share many of the undesirable side effects including tolerance and dependence. Some examples are Valium, Xanax, Halcion, Ativan, Klonopin, and Restoril. Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine that is not manufactured or legally marketed in the United States, but it is used illegally.
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