Barbiturates: Personal and social consequences

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 6:14 am

Barbiturates harm more people than those who take them. People who drive while intoxicated by barbiturates risk the lives of others. A pregnant woman who takes barbiturates passes the drugs along to her unborn baby. After the baby is born, the infant will have to undergo withdrawal from the barbiturate.

Barbiturates can also affect relationships. The drugs have been compared to alcohol in terms of the intoxicating effects. Both drugs produce a euphoric feeling during the mild intoxication stage. People may enjoy being around the person at that point.

As the intoxication increases, the person may become belligerent. He or she may provoke an argument. There is a possibility of violence. Judgement is impaired, so the person might make an unsafe decision like trying to drive home.

Some people who abuse barbiturates do not worry about driving under the influence. The reason is not because they are confident about their ability to drive, but because they know that police will not smell alcohol on their breath.

In some ways, the effects of barbiturates are predictable. Prolonged barbiturate use can shorten a person’s attention span. The person may suffer memory loss. Both conditions would make it difficult for a person to do well in school or perform on a job.

In addition, barbiturates make a person tired, anxious, and depressed. The person who took barbiturates to feel better finds that the drugs only deepen the depression.

As a person takes more or higher doses of a barbiturate, he or she does not know if that dose will be fatal. And with increased tolerance, the difference diminishes between an intoxicating dose and a fatal dose.

Furthermore, the method of withdrawing from barbiturates is not as simple as stopping completely. Barbiturates slow the brain’s activity, so there could be a rebound when a person stops taking the drug. This rebound activity could lead to seizures and other harmful consequences.

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