TRANQUILLISERS

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What are Tranquilisers?

There are two types of tranquillisers – ‘major’ (which are non-addictive antipsychotics) and ‘minor’ (which are relaxants that are addictive and liable to misuse).

Here we’re just talking about the ‘minor tranquillisers’. These tranquillisers can induce periods of calmness, relaxation and sleep and are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. They are prescription only medicines that can normally only be prescribed following a consultation with a doctor.

There are many different types of minor tranquillisers, but the most common are the group of drugs called benzodiazepines. These include Rohypnol, Valium (also called diazepam), temazepam and phenazepam (although this latter drug is sometimes found in street drugs, it is not prescribed by doctors in the UK).

The key effects of tranquillisers include:

  • Sedation – depressing the nervous system and ‘slowing’ the brain and body down.
  • Relief of tension and anxiety – helping the user feel calm and relaxed.
  • Help with insomnia.
  • Dependence – with some people getting very reliant on their use and finding if they stop that they get nasty withdrawal symptoms, including decreased concentration, tremors, nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety, panics and depression.

Appearance

In medicine, tranquillisers are used to treat anxiety and insomnia.

They come as tablets, capsules, injections or suppositories (tablets inserted up the bum); and come in a wide variety of colours. On average a 10mg diazepam pill costs £1.