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Benzodiazepines

Depressant

Benzodiazepines are synthetic drugs that share a common chemical structure based around a 7-carbon ring called benzodiazepine. They are prescription only medicines that are used to treat anxiety and insomnia, which include Valium® (diazepam), temazepam, Rohypnol® (flunitrazepam) and phenazepam (although this latter drug is sometimes found in street drugs, it is not prescribed by doctors in the UK).

Mostly available as tablets, these drugs also exist as powder in capsules, as suppositories, or in liquid form suitable for either oral use or injection. They are also available in gel-filled capsules; however, these are rarely prescribed due to their open abuse in the 1980s.

Benzodiazepines are often used as chill out drugs in the club scene. Some drug users take them to help come down off acid, cocaine, speed or ecstasy.

Eating

Eating

Usually taken as tablets but they also exist as powder or gel in capsules, or in a liquid form suitable for oral use.

Injecting

Injecting

Tranquillisers can come in a liquid form suitable for injection. Some people also crush or melt tablets or capsules, so that they can be injected.

  • Lowers anxiety and makes the person calm and relaxed
  • Assists sleep by depressing the central nervous system
  • May affect co-ordination
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Supresses fits
  • Highly addictive
  • Produces dependence
  • Unpleasant withdrawal reactions including, tremors, nausea, vomiting, headaches and depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks

Injecting:

  • Injecting gel capsules can be fatal when the gel solidifies inside the blood vessels
  • Injecting tablets is a major cause of collapsed veins which can lead to infection and abscess
  • Contracting a blood borne virus (if sharing needles)
Benzodiazepine tablets

Structure

Molecular structure of a generic benzodiazepine

Street Names

vallies, rugby balls, roofies, rohypnol, norries, moggies, mazzies, jellies, eggs, blues, benzos

Legal Status

Class C Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to two years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.