SBIRT Initiative We Ask Everyone About Prescription Depressants - IDHS 4554

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

We Ask Everyone About Prescription Depressants

The Illinois SBIRT Initiative Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment

Did You Know?

Mixing prescriptions with alcohol or over-the-counter drugs can be dangerous!

  • It can cause a drop in heart rate  and breathing
  • Risk of overdose and death increases

What to expect when cutting back or quitting the use of prescription depressants:

  • Change takes time.
  • You may have some withdrawal symptoms.
  • You will need support.

You don't have to do this alone:

  • Your doctor or behavioral health specialist can help you set up a plan
  • Contact your doctor if you are having any medical concerns

How can I learn more?

Visit this helpful website:


Prescription depressants are also called Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates.

Depressants are medicines often prescribed to help with:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures

Common Benzodiazepines

  • Valium®
  • Xanax®
  • Halcion®
  • Ativan®
  • Klonopin®



  • Seconal®
  • Amytal®
  • Fiorina®
  • Nebutal®

Important to know:

  • It is easy to become dependent on these types of medicines.
  • Stopping the use of many Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates "cold turkey" can be dangerous.

Talk to your doctor before changing your dose.

Questions to Consider

  • Am I using my OWN medicine?
  • Am I taking the medicine the way it was prescribed?
  • Am I running out of pills before my prescription can be refilled?

Effects of Prescription Depressants


  • Problems with vision
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Sleepiness
  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration


* Breathing problems


  • Less balance
  • Problems walking


  • Heightened emotions
  • Paranoia
  • Impulsivity
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness


  • Difficulty having sex


  • Menstrual issues

Symptoms of a depressant overdose:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Coma
  • Death
Something to try:

Community Resources:

Behavioral Specialist:

Name ________________________________

Contact ______________________________

Name ________________________________Contact ______________________________

Useful Websites/Literature:

Thanks to the Indiana Prevention Resource Center for sharing their original brochure with us. This publication was made possible by Grant Number TI23455 from the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs

DHS 4554 (N-08-15) SBIRT Depressants RX Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois. PO #15-2107 1000 copies