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Temazepam might be the most famous, but there are many kinds of tranquilliser. Learn about the effects and the risks with

Tranquillisers (benzodiazepines) are prescribed by doctors to treat anxiety, depression, tension problems, and sleeping disorders. They are misused by some people to counter the effects of stimulant drugs, or taken in combination with alcohol or heroin. Tranquillisers come in tablets or capsules that are swallowed. Some users inject Temazepam to intensify the effects.

What effects do tranquillisers have?

  • In small doses, tranquillisers can relieve anxiety
  • Increasing the quantity leads to drowsiness
  • Depending on the amount used the effects can last for three to six hours.

What are the risks of taking tranquillisers?

  • With repeated use, tolerance to tranquillisers can quickly develop.  This means users need to take more to get the same effect
  • Users may then find themselves dependent on the drugs
  • Withdrawal from tranquillisers isn't easy resulting in irritability, nausea, and insomnia.  In some cases, there is a risk of convulsions
  • If combined with other drugs, especially alcohol, fatal overdose can occur.

The law and tranquillisers:

  • Possession is not illegal without a prescription (except in the case of Temazepam).
  • It is an offence, however, to possess tranquillisers for supply, or allow premises to be used for the production or supply. (Class C penalties apply.)

Slang terms for tranquillisers:

Benzos, eggs, jellies, norries, vallies, moggies, mazzies, roofies and downers.

Tranquilliser brand names include:

Valium, Ativan, Mogadon ('moggies'), Librium, Rohypnol, Normison. Chemical names include: diazepam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, chlordiazepoxide, flunitrazepam, temazepam ('mazzies'/'jellies').

If you are planning on taking tranquillisers:

You should avoid mixing benzos with any other drugs, particularly other depressants such as alcohol and heroin.  Benzodiazepines are among the most dependence-forming of drugs. The dose has to be regularly upped to get the same effect and withdrawal symptoms include panic attacks and severe anxiety. Cold Turkey on benzos is extremely dangerous and frequently proves fatal. If you're using benzos daily and wish to reduce, you should do so only under medical supervision. 

Updated: 01/06/2011

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