What are barbiturates?

Aka: Barbs, barbies, blue bullets, blue devils, dolls, gorillas, nembies, pink ladies, red devils, sleepers, and downers
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Remember: All drugs, including the misuse of prescribed medication, can pose serious health risks, up to and including possible death.

What are Barbiturates?

These drugs are technically classed as depressants. Basically, they slow the body down and induce feelings of relaxation.  Barbiturates are usually available in tablet form, or, alternatively, as ampoules, suppositories or syrup.

Many barbiturates are available on prescription. They can be used for anxiety disorders and insomnia. They are legal with a prescription. They are not legal if they are obtained on the street.

What happens when you take them?

  • They induce a sense of sleepiness and relaxation
  • A person taking barbiturates may feel drunk, have slurred speech and lose co-ordination
  • Depending on dosage, barbiturates can also be used as anaesthetics. It is very dangerous to combine them with alcohol. The effects last 3-6 hours

Side effects

  • Loss of balance, difficulty breathing and quick dependence
  • Withdrawal can cause seizures
  • There is a high risk of accidental overdose

Harm reduction advice

If you choose to take drugs remember:

  • Start with a very small test dose and wait at least two hours before taking more
  • Stay with your friends and do not leave anybody who is intoxicated on their own
  • Avoid mixing drugs and alcohol. Every time you mix drugs, including alcohol and prescription medication, you increase the risks
  • Always hydrate with water but don’t drink over a pint an hour
  • If you are dancing, remember to take breaks from dancing and give yourself time to cool down
  • Don’t be afraid to get help if you or a friend become unwell or feel suicidal after using drugs Call 112 or 999

Support services

  • Drugs.ie: Online information and support for drug and alcohol use. Includes a national directory of drug and alcohol services
  • HSE Drugs, Alcohol, HIV and Sexual Health Helpline: Freephone 1800 459 459
  • The Club Drug Clinic offers advice, support and detoxification for GHB (Liquid Ecstasy, G) and other chemsex and club drugs is an integrated person centred specialist addiction service: Tel 016488600
  • Rialto Community Drug Team
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