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Benzodiazepines Category: Sedatives

Also called: benzos, jellies, sleepers, moggies, roofies, downers, eggs, rugby balls, D5s, D10s, roche.

How it’s used

Benzodiazepines are a sedative (‘downer’). You can get them as a tablet, capsule, injection or suppository. They are prescribed to reduce anxiety or stress, encourage sleep or to relax muscles. They are sometimes used to ease the comedown from stimulant drugs (‘uppers’) such as ecstasy, cocaine and speed or with other ‘downer’ drugs such as alcohol and heroin.

Short-term effects

Long-term effects

Other dangers

If you are pregnant

If you use benzos during pregnancy, there is a higher risk of your baby being born with a cleft palate (an abnormality of the lip or mouth). Using high doses before you deliver can seriously affect your baby’s breathing at birth and may kill them. Your baby may have withdrawal for up to 2-4 weeks after delivery and may find it difficult to suck. Your baby may be at greater risk of cot death.


You can quickly become addicted to benzodiazepines physically, so your body craves it, and psychologically, so you find it hard to cope with life without it. Because your tolerance increases over time, you have to keep taking more to get the same buzz.


The effects of benzodiazepines can last up to 24 hours. Withdrawal symptoms can begin between one and seven days after your last dose and can last for several months. Symptoms include anxiety, confusion and serious convulsions (‘benzo fits’). These can be dangerous and you may need medical help.

How long does it stay in your system?

Benzodiazepines will show up in a urine test for 2-28 days. (The length of time depends on the test used, the amount you take, if you have other medical conditions and your own metabolism. Please use this figure as a guide only.)

What help is available?

« Back to Types of Drugs page
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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
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