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AKA: Benzos, Valium, roofies, chill pills

  1. The basics
  2. Highs and lows
  3. Taking tranquilisers
  4. Tranquilisers with other drugs
  5. Useful info
  6. The law

The basics

The tranquilisers we’re talking about refer to prescription-only medication – usually given to people with anxiety and insomnia – being taken for recreational use.

There are many types of tranquiliser, but the most common group are called benzodiazapines. These include Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), Valium (diazepam), Restoril (temazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam).

How they are used

They’re most commonly tablets/pills and can come in a variety of colours, but they can also come in liquid form for injecting.

Tranquilisers are used on the drugs scene to manage typical comedown symptoms including anxiety, stress and paranoia. They are sometimes taken to counteract the effects of stimulants such as MDMA.

Highs and lows of tranquilisers


They can make you feel sleepy, relaxed and can lower your sexual inhibitions.


Short-term memory loss and extreme tiredness are the most obvious effects.

Tranquilisers are also extremely addictive. There can be nasty side effects including nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

As is the case with other types of prescription medication, stopping this kind of drug suddenly can lead to tremors and other uncomfortable sensations throughout the body.

It’s possible to go into a fit, which can result in death.

Taking tranquilisers

Sex and tranquilisers

As these types of drugs are so sedative, they’re not usually used for sex. You’ll probably feel too tired to bother and will find it hard to get an erection.

Date rape

Certain tranquilisers, most notably Rohypnol, have been linked strongly to date rape. They can make you unaware that you’re being sexually assaulted (as you would be in a deep sleep), and can make you unable to fight someone off.

You may also have memory blackouts, so not know what has been done to you or by whom.

Tranquilisers with other drugs

Alcohol, heroin and other downers

Mixing tranquilisers with booze is not a good idea, as they’re both downers that slow down your pulse and breathing. Mixing them with heroin is particularly risky as you can become unconscious or die.

HIV drugs

HIV meds like ritonavir or cobicistat can interact badly with Benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax, boosting the tranqs in your system to unpleasant or dangerous levels. You should consult your doctor to find out about possible drug interactions.


Although tranqs are mostly used to take the edge off a comedown, it’s not a good idea to mix them with other drugs, as it can lead to unpredictable reactions.

Useful to know

Tranquillisers are very addictive and are usually only prescribed for short-term use. Tolerance can build quickly, and you may find it hard to function normally without them.

The law

Tranquillisers are Class C drugs. Possession without a prescription can result in an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of up to two years.

Supplying (which includes giving them to anyone for free) can lead to up to 14 years in jail.

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Published: 20/08/2018
Next review: 20/08/2021