Depressants are essentially drugs that slow down the central nervous system. The three most common depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates.

Alcohol is the most common used drug in the US, reaching a staggering 86.8% of people over the age of 18. This psychoactive, addictive, drug affects motor skills, judgment, and memory and also increases aggressiveness while reducing self awareness. The most important organ involving alcohol is the liver. The liver metabolizes alcohol once it is absorbed through the small intestine at a rate of 1 drink per hour. If drunken in mass quantities in little amounts of time, symptoms like the ones listed above will rapidly increase and your chances of alcohol poisoning due to the high levels of ethanol also increases. This depressant greatly affects the young population of teens as well. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 24% of youth aged 12 to 20 years old drink alcohol. What the younger population doesn't know, are the intimidating long term effects of alcohol. Some include alcoholism, which affects 17 million adults in the US alone, malnutrition, chronic pancreatitis, liver disease/cancer, and damage to both the central and peripheral nervous systems.

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Bar graph of current, binge, and heavy alcohol use among persons aged 12 to 20, by gender in 2007.

The second major depressants are called barbiturates. These are drugs that reduce anxiety while also impairing memory and judgment. Barbiturates are extremely addictive and are very easy to overdose on. Some of the short term effects you might experience include dull or slowed thinking, emotional instability, frequent irritation, slurred speech, and confusion. Approximately 9% of high school students have admitted to taking nonmedical barbiturates once in their life. Examples include Nembutal, Seconal, and Amytal.

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Famous artist Jimi Hendrix died from overdosing on barbiturates.

The third highly used depressives are called opiates. These are also highly addictive and depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety. Opiates are also referenced as painkillers, opioids, and narcotics. This drug is derived from the poppy plant and has been used medically since before recorded time. Some examples include codeine, morphine, and heroin.

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Poppy Plant
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