What are depressant drugs?

First discovered in 1864 by Adolf von Bayer, depressant drugs are used generally as a hypnotic sedative, tranquilizer, or anti-convulsive/anti-anxiety medicine.  One of the first depressant drugs marketed in America was Barbital in 1903.  Today there are over 2,500 different named depressant drugs including:


How do you recognize someone under the influence of a depressant drug?


How can drug recognition training help?

Although the casual observer can easily recognize impairment from a depressant drug in a recreational user, the long-term addict will fool the untrained.  The human brain will quickly develop compensation techniques to adjust of the deleterious effects of depressant drugs.  Although no tolerance develops, the brain's compensation ability allows the long term user to become intoxicated on large doses of depressant drugs and show little or no outward symptoms such as swaying or slurred speech.  Even police officers are sometimes surprised by a grossly intoxicated driver who shows few common symptoms of impairment.

Drug recognition training uses non-body invasive eye clues to alert on the possibility of drug impairment and to identify what broad class of drugs may be causing the impairment.  All recreational drugs taken at abusive levels effect the user's eyes. Knowing these eye clues gives the observer important information as to the potential for drug impaired safety concerns.

Depressant drugs, taken at an abusive dose, will produce drooped eye lids, a slowed pupilary response to light, and involuntary jerking of the eyes.  Effective training for recognizing the effects of depressant drug impairment should include video displays of actual depressant drug impaired subjects and classroom lead training.


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