||Slang terms change often and there's a lot of confusion and cross-over between terms used in various parts of the world and at various times. When we originally responded to this question (Dec 2000), we guessed that "red abbots" most likely referred to sodium quinalbarbitone (seconal) and "green abbots" probably referred to some other barbiturate. We recently (Sept 2004) received better information about this question.|
"Reds" is a common slang term for sodium quinalbarbitone (Seconal) which traditionally came in red capsules. "Blues" has been used as slang for amylobarbitone (Amytal). "Abbott" is the name of a pharmaceutical company. We can guess that "red abbotts" and "green abbotts" refer to pharmaceuticals with similar activity to a barbiturates, but produced by Abbott pharmaceutical.
Abbott's flagship barbiturate was Nembutal Sodium (Pentobarbital Sodium), which are best known as Yellow Jackets. They also produced a non-barbiturate sedative-hypnotic called Placidyl (ethchlorvynol). Placidyl came in 3 dosage sizes, 200mg, 500mg and 750mg. The 200 mg Placidyls were red gelatine spheres, the 500 mg capsules were red gelatine capsules
inscribed with 'PLACIDYL' or the Abbott insignia and 'KH' and the 740 mg capsules were dark green capsules marked with the Abbott insignia and 'KN'.
Placidyl was quite potent and was one of many pharms favored by the late Elvis. It was also popular with the speed and cocaine crowds as it was powerful enough to over-ride the
stimulants and effectively knock the users out. It's easily identifiable by it's vinyl-like odor (new car smell). Due to its barbiturate-like problems concerning abuse and overdose, Abbott discontinued Placidyl in 1999.
Thanks to D for providing the above information.