Depressants are substances that depress the activity of the central nervous system. They are often referred to as “downers” because of their sedative, hypnotic and tranquilizing effects. There are both legal and illegal depressants.Alcohol is the most common legal depressant. Others that are legal such as Methaqualone, Chloral Hydrate, and Glutethimide are often prescribed medications used to induce sleep, relieve stress, and subdue anxiety.

Another view is: A depressant, is a drug that lowers neurotransmission levels, which is to depress or reduce arousal or stimulation, in various areas of the brain. Depressants are also occasionally referred to as “downers” as they lower the level of arousal when taken. Stimulants or “uppers” increase mental and/or physical function, hence the opposite drug class of depressants is stimulants, not antidepressants. When these drugs are used, effects often include ataxia, anxiolysis, pain relief, sedation or somnolence, and cognitive/memory impairment, as well as in some instances euphoria, dissociation, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure or heart rate, respiratory depression, and anticonvulsant effects, and even complete anesthesia or death at high doses.


How can I help? (Nemours Foundation)

… How Can I Help a Friend Who Cuts? KidsHealth > For Teens > Print A A A … How Can Someone Quit?
Fact Sheet (Drug Enforcement Administration) – PDF

Drug Fact Sheet Overview Includes barbiturates (barbs), benzodiazepines (benzos) and sedative-hypnotics.
Commonly Abused Drugs Charts From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
… in treating prescription opioid addiction. Prescription Sedatives (Tranquilizers,) Medications that slow brain activity, which makes them … shared needles. In Combination with Alcohol Masks the depressant action of alcohol, increasing the risk of alcohol overdose; … – External Health Links
Improper Use of Medications NIHSeniorHealth (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
… improper use of prescription and illicit drugs. Painkillers, Stimulants. The types of prescription medications most … any age are painkillers (such as Vicodin, OxyContin), Xanax, Valium, and stimulants (such as …

Sodium Oxybate

The way that sodium oxybate works to treat … – Drugs and Supplements
Prescription Drugs From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

… Marijuana MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly) Methamphetamine (Meth) Prescription Medications Prescription Drugs Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids) Prescription … – External Health Links

Other Sources

Drug Identification Guide

CDC Facts

CDC Addiction Info

CDC Overdose Stats

CDC Substance Treatment

Whitehouse Drug-Free Communities

Samhsa Workplace Programs


Federal Register Codification

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