Q: What are barbiturates?
A: Barbiturates are a group of drugs that are used by doctors to treat patients suffering from anxiety or who are having trouble sleeping.
Some examples of barbiturates are Seconal®, Nembutal®, Amytal® and Tuinal®. Street names for barbiturates include “reds”, “red devils”, “yellow jackets”, “blue heavens”, “Christmas trees” and “rainbows”.
Q: So what is the difference between a tranquilizer/sleeping pill and a barbiturate?
A: The main difference lies in their chemical structure. In general, tranquilizers and barbiturates have similar effects, but barbiturates are stronger. Barbiturates are prescribed less often now that doctors have a greater number of tranquilizers and sleeping pills to choose from.
Q: What do barbiturates do to the body?
A: Like tranquilizers and sleeping pills, barbiturates are “downers.” They work by reducing the amount of activity in the brain and central nervous system. This produces a feeling of calm in people who take them.
Q: What are the dangers of barbiturates?
A: Because they are stronger than tranquilizers and sleeping pills, barbiturates are more dangerous when abused. People develop dependence on barbiturates faster than on tranquilizers. This leads them to take more in order to get the same effect as they used to get with smaller amounts.
These larger doses are particularly dangerous because very high doses can be deadly.
Q: Is it dangerous to take other drugs with barbiturates?
A: Remember that mixing two kinds of any drug is always risky. With barbiturates, a big danger comes when they are taken with alcohol. The danger comes from the fact that both alcohol and barbiturates have similar effects on the body. Both reduce the amount of activity in the central nervous system. If someone combines alcohol and barbiturates, the amount of activity in their nervous system will be greatly reduced. This can lead to death.
Some heroin addicts mix barbiturates and heroin. Like alcohol and barbiturates, heroin reduces activity in the central nervous system. Taking two drugs that reduce this activity can be fatal.
Q: What does taking barbiturates over a period of months or years do to a person?
A: Over time, regular use of barbiturates can cause liver damage and blood problems.
Q: Do barbiturates have any other effects?
A: Yes, barbiturates can also affect memory and judgment. They can also create depression, anger, mood swings and fatigue.
Q: Are barbiturates addictive?
A: People do become dependent on barbiturates. This means that they begin to “need” the effects barbiturates produce. If they stop taking them suddenly, people who are dependent on barbiturates can experience sleeping problems, restlessness, irritability and even death.
(Amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, and their various salts are collectively referred to as amphetamines. In fact, their chemical properties and actions are so similar that even experienced users have difficulty knowing which drug they have taken. Methamphetamine is the most commonly abused.)
Street terms for methamphetamine: Meth, poor man’s cocaine, crystal meth, ice, glass, speed
What Does Methamphetamine Look Like?
- Typically meth is a white powder that easily dissolves in water.
- Another form of meth, in clear chunky crystals, called crystal meth, or ice.
- Meth can also be in the form of small, brightly colored tablets. The pills are often called by their Thai name, yaba.
What are the methods of usage?
- Oral ingestion
Who uses methamphetamine and amphetamines?
- During 2000, 4% of the U.S. population reported trying methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime.
- Abuse is concentrated in the western, southwestern, and midwestern United States.
How do methamphetamine and amphetamines get to the United States?
- Clandestine laboratories in California and Mexico are the primary sources of supply for methamphetamine available in the United States.
- Domestic labs that produce methamphetamine are dependent on supplies of the precursor chemical pseudoephedrine, which is sometimes diverted from legitimate sources. It is smuggled from Canada, and to a lesser extent from Mexico.
- Domestic independent laboratory operators, mostly in the western, southwestern, and midwestern United States, also produce and distribute methamphetamine but on a smaller scale.
- Yaba (meth in tablet form) is most often produced in Southeast Asia and sent by mail or courier to the United States.
How much do methamphetamine and amphetamines cost?
- Prices for methamphetamine vary throughout different regions of the United States.
- At the distribution level, prices range from $3,500 per pound in parts of California and Texas to $21,000 per pound in southeastern and northeastern regions of the country. Retail prices range from $400 to $3,000 per ounce.
What are some consequences of methamphetamine and amphetamine use?
- Effects of usage include addiction, psychotic behavior, and brain damage .
- Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression, and intense cravings.
- Chronic use can cause violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, and paranoia.
- Damage to the brain cause by meth usage is similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and epilepsy.