What They Are: Tranquilizers and other depressants calm nerves and relax muscles. They are bright-colored capsules or tablets that are legally available through a doctor for medical reasons, but can be illegally abused. Sometimes Called: A-minus, Candy, Downers, Goofballs, Barbs, Yellow Jackets, Ludes, Red Birds, Sleeping Pills, Tooies, Tranks, Zombie Pills How They're Used: Depressants are swallowed. What They Do: When used as prescribed by a doctor, depressants can calm nerves and relax muscles. Larger or improperly used doses of depressant drugs can cause confusion, lack of coordination, low blood pressure, and slowed heart rate and breathing. Someone who takes them may have slurred speech and an inability to concentrate, and may fall asleep at work or school. Depressants are addictive and withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, sleeplessness, and seizures. Depressant drugs are very dangerous if taken with alcohol and some other drugs. Very large doses of depressants can stop breathing and cause death. Back to Articles Related Articles Drugs: What to Know It's not hard to find drugs, and sometimes it may seem like everyone's doing them or wanting you to do them. But there are downsides (and dangers) to taking drugs. Read More Dealing With Addiction Find out what you can do if you think you or a friend has a drug or alcohol addiction - from recognizing the warning signs to suggestions to help you stay clean. Read More Prescription Drug Abuse There are many downsides to experimenting with prescription drugs. Find out more in this article for teens. Read More Rohypnol Rohypnol is a powerful sedative that has a reputation as a "date rape" drug. Find out more about it in this article for teens. Read More GHB GHB is an illegal drug that slows down some of the processes in the brain and central nervous system. Because it causes memory loss and is easily slipped into drinks, it's known as a "date rape" drug. Read More Ketamine Ketamine is a fast-acting and powerful anesthetic that is often used as a date rape drug. Find out more in this article for teens. Read More Getting Rid of Old Medicines Medicines can cause problems if they get into the water supply or the wrong hands. Find out how to dispose of old or unused meds safely in this article for teens. Read More Understanding Medicines and What They Do Medicines can cure, stop, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. This article describes different types of medications and offers tips on taking them. Read More Alcohol Deciding whether to drink is a personal decision that we each eventually have to make. Get the facts about alcohol. Read More School Counselors School counselors can give you all sorts of tips and support on solving problems and making good decisions. But how do you meet with a counselor and what is it like? Find out here. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.