Prescription drugs - tranx

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Street names

Downers, tranx, vallies, jellies, benzos, eggs, tems, various product names (e.g. Temazepam, Valium, Ativan, Librium, Amytal, Seconal).


There are two types of tranquillisers – ‘major’ (which are non-addictive antipsychotics) and ‘minor’ (which are relaxants that are addictive and liable to misuse).
Minor tranquillisers are manufactured drugs produced to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia. Meant to be prescribed by a doctor, they’re designed to reduce anxiety and promote calmness, relaxation and sleep. Taken orally in tablet form, but sometimes injected.

There are many different types of minor tranquillisers, but the most common are the group of drugs called benzodiazepines. These include Rohypnol, Valium (also called diazepam) and temazepam.

The key effects of tranquillisers include:

  • Sedation – depressing the nervous system and ‘slowing’ the brain and body down.
  • Relief of tension and anxiety – helping the user feel calm and relaxed.
  • Help with insomnia.
  • Dependence – with some people getting very reliant on their use and finding if they stop that they get nasty withdrawal symptoms, including decreased concentration, tremors, nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety, panics and depression.

Paraphernalia / what to look out for

  • Pharmaceutical tablets and capsules.

Possible short-term indicators

  • Bring a feeling of calm, lowered inhibitions and less concern about problems.
  • May include a drop in heart rate and breathing, flushes, slurred speech, blurred vision.
  • Big doses can make a user forgetful and make them overly sleepy.
  • Some cause short-term memory loss.
  • Mental activity is decreased; memory will not be as good.
  • Tolerance develops – after up to two weeks’ continuous use Benzodiazapines may become ineffective as sleeping pills, and after four months, ineffective against anxiety.

Possible longer-term indicators

  • Physical dependence can occur.
  • Psychological dependence and distress upon withdrawal is common.
  • Headaches, nausea, inactivity, poor sexual functioning, increased appetite and accompanying weight gain and aches and pains.
  • Panic attacks are not uncommon.
  • People who are addicted to tranquillisers can experience nasty withdrawal symptoms, which can include decreased concentration, tremors, nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Very uncomfortable bodily sensations can also develop; and fits can occur, which in severe cases can be fatal.

Harm reduction

  • Aim to take them for more no more than a few weeks.
  • If taken for too long they become ineffective but dependence develops.

Legal status

  • Tranquillisers are controlled under Class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act
  • Unauthorised possession (i.e. without a prescription) could result in a prison sentence of up to 2 years and an unlimited fine.
  • Supplying, which includes giving some to your friends, could mean up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.