One of the greatest causes for concern associated with any drug is acquired dependency (addiction) and possible side effects. For years, barbiturates were called "downers" because they have a sedative effect upon the body. They were used to control anxiety attacks, convulsions, depression, insomnia, and pain. Then, a few years ago, the benzodiazepines came along. They do pretty much the same things as barbiturates, only better.
Both drugs are not without their side effects, and acute dosages can lead to fatalities. Even if a person survives an overdose, severe kidney failure can result. People using these drugs appear more prone to commit suicide. The societal implication of this is to limit the usage of these types of drugs. Medical personnel don't want to eliminate them entirely as they still have some positive therapeutic properties.
Any drug that is mind-altering, stimulating, relaxing, or exciting is tagged by people looking for a thrill or an escape. But, both barbiturates and benzodiazepines impair the motor and cognitive skills of their user, making such people unable to effectively and safely operate machinery, make rational decisions, and be responsible. Here are some possible side effects of using these drugs: drowsiness, lethargy, respiratory or cardiac arrest, suicidal thoughts, renal failure, impaired vision, clumsiness, loss of memory, dizziness, impairment of eye/hand coordination, lightheadness, fatigue, and irritability.