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Depressants are drugs or chemicals that slow down or depress the activity of the central nervous system They are separated into three common categories barbiturates sedatives and tranquilizers Another substance that is commonly used is alcohol which also considers to be a depressant Depressants usually come in tablets or in red yellow or blue capsules see picture 1 Some common and interesting street names of depressants are Red Devils Yellow Jackets Christmas Trees Pink Ladies Goof Balls and King Kong Pills Depressants can either be synthesized or can appear naturally in plants such as curare and belladonna In 1864 German chemist Adolph Von Bayer discovered what he named barbiturate after Saint Barbara of artillery officers In 1903 the first barbiturate Venronal was marketed following by Phenobarbital in 1912 Barbiturates were very popular in the early 1900s but today only about twenty percent of all depressant prescriptions are for barbiturates in the United States There are more than 2500 known types of barbiturates but only about fifty of them are used for medicinal applications and among these fifty types only about fifteen are mainly used Bromides were first synthesized for medical use in 1837 and became the earliest prescribed sedatives They were used for many years to treat epileptic convulsions About thirty years later in 1869 chloral hydrate was released and widely used as a sedative When mixed with alcohol chloral hydrate earned its infamous nicknames knockout drops and Mickey Finn Even though it is still in use today its amount of uses had decreased after barbiturates were introduced The word tranquilizer originally came from the Latin word tranquillus which means calm and serene and that is why tranquilizers are used to calm patients and users Hoffman-La Roche a Swiss multinational drugs company introduced Librium a type of tranquilizers to the market in 1960 The original purpose of this depressant is to set people free from anxiety In following years similar drugs were
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