Example: GHB, Alcohol, Cannabis, Benzodiazepines (Xanax, valium etc), Ketamine

AKA: G, Juice, booze, pot, weed, Xans, bars, Ket, K, Special K, heroin, smack, gear, oxy, codeine

Depressants are drugs that have a depressant effect on the central nervous system. They cause a decrease of electric signals in the brain and from your brain to your body, making your body more relaxed and lowering your consciousness.


Effects include:

  • Decreased heart rate & breathing

  • Decreased body temperature

  • Decreased muscle tension

  • Decreased sensitivity/alertness to stimuli

  • Confusion

  • Numbness

  • Loss of motor skills and coordination

  • Dissociation

  • Sense of calm and serenity

  • Abstract and disjointed thinking

Caring for someone under the influence of a depressant

  • Encourage help-seeking behaviour

  • Find out what the person has had, how much, and when the last dose was taken

  • Encourage them to sip water – monitor, how much they consume

  • Do not douse them in water – this can lead to hypothermia

  • If they are vomiting, monitor how much liquid they expel

  • Be cautious of them sleeping. If they do fall asleep

    • make sure they are in the recovery position (below)

    • rouse them regularly (at least every 20 minutes)

    • monitor breathing

  • If they become unrousable, seek medical attention

  • Don’t give water/food to a drowsy/unconscious person

Signs requiring medical assistance or referral to emergency medical service

  • The person is not conscious of their behaviour​

  • The person’s breathing has changed​

  • They have signs of heart problems​

  • They are showing signs of drug overdose:

    • ​Hot and can’t cool down 

    • Clammy skin 

    • Dry, red (or pale), hot skin (stopped sweating) 

    • Dry mouth 

    • Blue/purple lips 

    • Eyes rolling back/obvious eye ‘wobbles’ 

    • Foot/leg is uncontrollably shaking 

    • Rigid muscles 

    • Unable to walk unassisted 

    • Locked jaw or repeated jaw clenching (even if otherwise well)


Image: Recovery Position