What Makes a Barbiturate?
Barbiturates are a central nervous system depressant – this means they slow you down. They relax your brain activity, making them useful to treat anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep issues. They also relax your body, which is why they’re used to help manage muscle spasms and seizures. They’re popular prescription pills to abuse because they can make you feel intoxicated.
Currently, there are about a dozen barbiturates approved for medical use. Some common brand names you might recognize are Fiorina, Pentothal, Seconal, Nembutal, and Luminal. Prescriptions such as these should always be taken as prescribed as they can have adverse effects if misused.
There are also several illicit versions of barbiturates. These are commonly referred to as barbs, blockbusters, Christmas trees, goof balls, pinks, red devils, reds and blues, and yellow jackets. These are usually injected into the vein, whereas legal barbiturates come in pill form.
Barbiturates can be short-acting or long-acting. Most barbiturate abusers prefer short-acting injections for a quicker fix. Long-acting barbiturates usually take an hour to set in and last about 12. These are generally used for sedation or seizures, though they are still abused.
Today, most doctors only prescribe barbiturates when there’s no other choice. Because of the negative side effects, benzodiazepines are more commonly prescribed.