At one time, the American drug epidemic was portrayed as exclusively involving illegal narcotics such as heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamines. Drug dealers were depicted as criminals, and users were miscreants.

However, the spike in addiction to prescription pain pills has changed that narrative. Today,  drug dealers are frequently doctors, family members, and friends, and substance users are from every age group and social class. Furthermore, the ongoing opioid epidemic has revealed that prescription medications carry the same risks of addiction and death as their illicit counterparts.

For example, recreational drug users have turned to Nembutal, which was initially used in physician-assisted lethal injections, because it creates feelings of relaxation. As one article points out, there has been a rise in Nembutal use among teens who seek it out for its anti-anxiety effects. However, prolonged use of this potent drug can quickly evolve into dependence, addiction, respiratory arrest, and even death.

What Is Nembutal?

Nembutal is the brand name for pentobarbital or pentobarbitone, a short-acting medication that’s used to treat insomnia and seizures. It can also be administered as a sedative to put patients to sleep before surgery.

In the U.S., the medication is offered via injection. As a barbiturate, it belongs to a larger class of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Essentially, it suppresses the excitability of the nervous system.

Nembutal accomplishes this goal by interacting with a neurotransmitter called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring chemical that inhibits nerve transmission in the brain. In other words, GABA calms you down, so you can go to sleep.

The first clinical use of barbiturates occurred in 1904. Eventually, they revolutionized the treatment of patients who suffered from psychiatric and neurological disorders. Barbiturates also proved useful in the treatment of sleep disorders and the management of epileptic seizures. By the 1950s, barbiturate use was at its peak, and pentobarbital was the most commonly administered one.

However, the medical establishment would soon turn away from barbiturates because of their tendency to produce “frequent cases of death by overdose.” The 1962 death of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe highlighted those concerns, as her demise was caused by “acute poisoning by overdose of barbiturates.” In fact, an empty vial of Nembutal was discovered on Monroe’s bedside table after her death, along with a multitude of other prescription drugs.

Later, doctors started prescribing benzodiazepines (or benzos) as an alternative to barbiturates because they thought they were less toxic. Today, Nembutal might be regarded as a “forgotten medicine,” but it hasn’t completely fallen out of favor with users.


What Does Nembutal Look Like?

There are two types of Nembutal strengths available. Nembutal comes in a 50 milligram and 100-milligram pill. The 50-milligram pill is orange and white, whereas the 100-milligram pill is yellow. The 50-milligram capsule is imprinted with CF, and the 100-milligram pill has an A and a CH. When Nembutal is in liquid form, it can be injected, which is why the capsule is referred to as Nembutal sodium, and the liquid is referred to as Nembutal sodium solution.

Is Nembutal Addictive?

Barbiturates were by and large taken off the market because of their addictive properties. Nembutal, unfortunately, is no different and is considered to be extremely addictive. The effects cause a user to feel drowsy, relaxed, and euphoria, which are desirable effects for those who abuse drugs. In the 1950s, the addictive nature of barbiturates began to surface. At this time, doctors sought less addictive alternatives known as benzodiazepines.

In addition to its addictive traits, the drug can cause physical dependence. When someone becomes dependent on Nembutal and stop using the medicine, they will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms caused by barbiturates can include seizures. Due to the strength of Nembutal, it can be easy to overdose when using the drug. When barbiturates are abused, it increases the risk of accidental overdoses

What Are The Signs Of Nembutal Addiction?

A substance use disorder often starts out with mild symptoms, such as developing a tolerance. But this tolerance can grow into dependency. If you notice that your typical dose isn’t as effective as it once was, then you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines drug dependence as the point in which “the body adapts to the drug, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect (tolerance) and eliciting drug-specific physical or mental symptoms if drug use is abruptly ceased (withdrawal).”

If you miss a dose, cut back, or stop using it, you may start feeling withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, tremors, nausea, and even seizures.

Some Behavioral Signs Of A Substance Abuse Disorder That Could Signal Problematic Use Are:

  •     Weakness
  •     Poor judgment
  •     Mood swings
  •     Lying about drug use
  •     Hiding drugs around the house
  •     Strange sleep patterns
  •     Intoxication similar to drunkenness
  •     Shopping for doctors
  •     Isolation
  •     Sudden financial problems

The surest sign of addiction is compulsive use of the drug, despite the consequences. For example, if you’ve become addicted, you may not be able to stop on your own, even if you’ve noticed it’s caused serious consequences, such as legal troubles, health problems, or strains on your relationships. At this point, you should seek professional addiction treatment, as it can mean the difference between life and death.

How Is Nembutal Addiction Treated?

If left untreated, a Nembutal addiction can result in an overdose that leads to permanent injury or death. Going “cold turkey” can be dangerous because of the complex nature of the addiction. The best path to sobriety starts with the highest level of addiction treatment: medical detoxification.

Generally, detox lasts for a week and involves 24/7 medical care. During this process, a team of healthcare professionals will ensure your comfort and safety as all toxins are removed from your body.

Depending on your medical or psychological needs, you may need to enter an inpatient program until you’ve stabilized. For clients with acute addictions and/or home lives that are unsuitable for sobriety, a residential program is the best solution. According to experts, the longer a person stays in residential care, the more likely it will be that they stay sober.

In residential treatment, you’ll receive comprehensive therapy to help you get to the root of your addiction. A staff of addiction specialists will tailor relapse prevention plans to your specific needs.


Here Are The Most Commonly Used Therapy Models:

  •     Group therapy sessions provide you the support you need to know you’re not alone in your addiction recovery journey.
  •     You’ll receive personalized treatment to address the emotional issues that contribute to addiction.
  •     With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), you’ll receive treatment that addresses the negative thoughts and actions associated with addiction. In this stage, you’ll learn practical strategies and skills to combat old habits.
  •     Through dialectical behavioral therapy, you’ll learn about the triggers that lead to substance abuse.
  •     In motivational interviewing, you’ll identify key issues, learn how to think positively, and embrace changes that can improve your life.
  •     You’ll learn how to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life.
  •     Since addiction is often described as a family disease, family therapy will help you heal some of those wounds.
  •     In order to ensure your post-treatment success, you’ll go through aftercare planning, which helps prevent relapse.

How Dangerous Is Nembutal Abuse?

Nembutal is just as dangerous now as it was when Marilyn Monroe overdosed on it. It can cause dependence, addiction, and withdrawal, particularly when it is abused. Nevertheless, barbiturates are often used recreationally.

Around 300 deaths in the U.S. occur each year due to barbiturate overdose, many of which are suicides. When ingested in large doses, Nembutal can fatally suppress your central nervous system. Extreme cases of Nembutal overdose can lead to the complete shutdown of the brain. Other complications from overdose include cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and renal failure.

Nembutal Abuse Statistics

  • Nineteen million barbiturate prescriptions are written every year.
  • In one-third of all drug-related deaths, barbiturates are contributing factors.
  • In 2013, barbiturates were responsible for close to 400 deaths.
  • Eight percent of barbiturates are created illegally in the United States.
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