2.5 Intoxicating Depressants

Intoxicating Depressants #

Textbook Definition: Depressants induce depression of the central nervous system (CNS), which reduces arousal or stimulation. This slows down the activity of the brain and nervous system, with physical and psychoactive effects often dependent upon dose. Intoxicants excite or stupefy to the point where physical and mental control is diminished. Intoxicating depressants tend to combine these experiences, with their effects transforming and morphing towards the former, as the timescale unfolds.

The following chemicals have been sampled and researched for inclusion within this section:

CNS depressants are often referred to as “downers”, which for most drugs thus classified aligns entirely with the nature of their effects. I refer here to anxiolytics and sedatives, for example. For others, however, the early stages of the experience can appear to be entirely contradictory to this. Alcohol provides a good example, in that initially it tends to create a euphoric or energised feeling of intoxication.

This section embraces this latter category, with sedatives and chemicals with antipsychotic effects being covered earlier in the book.

Included are opioids, although I should point out that I purposely did not sample carfentanil, fentanyl or u-47700. This decision was taken purely on a risk and return basis. During the period from 2015 the number of deaths associated with these particular analogues increased to alarming proportions, which is hardly surprising given their dose sensitivity. As I am not much of a fan of opioids generally, skipping them was a no-brainer.

I would also add that the need to exercise caution with this entire class of psychoactive is further emphasized by the data produced via a range of studies, as illustrated in Section 4.2 of this book. That these drugs constitute a high proportion of media headlines in terms of addiction and death is not a coincidence. Be extremely careful, particularly with respect to dose and frequency of use. Finally, I would stress that I do include alcohol, in its many forms, in making these statements.


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services produces a range of statistics relating to death rates for most members of this class of drug. The following graphics provide something of an overview. Bear in mind that these refer to real people.

For alcohol, chronic causes include liver disease, strokes and so forth, whereas acute causes include accidents, suicide, poisoning, etc. Interestingly, I found that the alcohol figures were less current and were far more difficult to locate on the CDC website than those for opioids, despite the numbers being significantly higher.

[Source: CDC.gov]

[Source: CDC.gov]

[Source: CDC.gov]

[Source: CDC.gov]