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Club Drugs


Club drugs are substances commonly used at nightclubs, music festivals, raves, and dance parties to enhance social intimacy and sensory stimulation. The most widely used club drugs are MDMA, also known as ecstasy, GHB, Rohypnol, and Ketamine.
  • These drugs are popular because of their low cost and convenient distribution as small pills, powders, or liquids.
  • They are taken orally and may be taken in combination with each other, with alcohol, or with other drugs.
  • They often are impure or misrepresented.
  • Any club drug overdose should therefore be suspected as polydrug use with the actual substance and dose unknown.
  • People who have opposing reactions to these club drugs are likely to consult a family physician.
  • Toxicologic screening generally is not available for club drugs.
  • There is no specific cure except for flunitrazepam.
  • Special care must be taken for immediate control of hypothermia, hypertension, rhabdomyolysis, and serotonin syndrome.
  • Severe drug reactions can occur even with a small dose and may require critical care.
  • Club drug overdose usually resolves with full recovery within seven hours.

Street Names;
Ecstasy, X, M, E, XTC, rolls, beans, Clarity, Adam, lover's speed, hug drug
G, liquid ecstasy, Grievous Bodily Harm, gib, soap, scoop, nitro
Blue Nitro, GH Revitalizer, Gamma G
Weight Belt Cleaner, Serenity, Thunder Nectar, Revitalize Plus
Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)
Mexican valium, circles, roofies, la rocha, roche, rophies, R2, rope, forget-me pill
Ketamine (Ketalar)
K, special K, super K, vitamin K, kit-kat, keets, super acid, jet, cat valiums


MDMA was developed in 1914 as an appetite suppressant, but animal tests were unimpressive, and it was never tested in humans. In 1965, psychiatrists prescribed the drug to break through psychologic defenses as an "empathy agent." By 1985, illegal laboratories were producing the drug for recreational use, and it was classified as a schedule I controlled substance.

  • MDMA has become the most common stimulant found in dance clubs and at 70 percent of raves.
  • MDMA usually is sold as small tablets of variable colors imprinted with popular icons or words.
  • A high proportion of MDMA pills are impure with substances such as caffeine, or potent hallucinogens such as LSD, PMA, MDA, MDEA, and 2-CB.
  • Many of these substances are "designer drugs" that are illicitly manufactured variants of pharmaceuticals and have intentional and unintentional effects.
  • MDMA ingestion increases the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine from presynaptic neurons and prevents their metabolism by inhibiting monoamine oxidase.
  • Effects of an oral dose appear within 30 to 60 minutes and last up to eight hours. A quicker onset of action can be achieved by snorting the powder of a crushed tablet.
  • Users of MDMA describe initial feelings of agitation, a distorted sense of time, and diminished hunger and thirst, followed by euphoria with a sense of profound insight, intimacy, and well-being.
  • To further enhance the sensory effects, users often wear fluorescent necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories, and apply mentholated ointment on their lips or spray menthol inhalant on a surgical mask.
  • Unpleasant side effects of MDMA include trismus and bruxism, which can be reduced by sucking on a pacifier or lollipop.
  • MDMA ingestion directly causes a rise in antidiuretic hormone.22 Heat from the exertion of dancing in a crowded room coupled with the MDMA-induced hyperthermia can lead easily to excessive water intake and severe hyponatremia.


GHB is a derivative of the inhibitory neurotransmitter g-aminobutyric acid and occurs naturally in the central nervous system, where it is believed to mediate sleep cycles, body temperature, cerebral glucose metabolism, and memory. GHB was first synthesized in France in 1960 as an anesthetic. It later achieved popularity as a recreational drug and a nutritional supplement marketed to bodybuilders. Nonprescription sales in the United States were banned in 1990 because of adverse effects, including uncontrolled movements and depression of the respiratory and central nervous systems. In 2000, with 60 deaths reported from overdose and concern over its use as a "date rape" drug, GHB was reclassified as a schedule I controlled substance.

  • The salty powder usually is dissolved in water and sold at $5 to $10 per dose. Overdose is common because the strength of the solution is often unknown. The unpleasant salty or soapy taste may be masked in flavored or alcoholic beverages.
  • Effects of GHB appear within 15 to 30 minutes of oral ingestion and peak at 20 to 60 minutes, depending on whether it is mixed with food. Toxicity is increased if taken with alcohol or other CNS depressants.
  • GHB produces euphoria, progressing with higher doses to dizziness, hypersalivation, hypotonia, and amnesia.
  • Overdose may result in Cheyne-Stokes respiration, seizures, coma, and death. Coma may be interrupted by agitation, with flailing activity described similar to a drowning swimmer fighting for air.
  • Bradycardia and hypothermia are reported in about one third of patients admitted to a hospital for using GHB and appear to be correlated with the level of consciousness.
  • Chronic use of GHB may produce dependence and a withdrawal syndrome that includes anxiety, insomnia, tremor, and in severe cases, treatment-resistant psychoses.


Flunitrazepam, marketed as Rohypnol, is a potent benzodiazepine with a rapid onset. Manufactured by Roche Laboratories, it is available in more than 60 countries in Europe and Latin America for preoperative anesthesia, sedation, and treatment of insomnia. In the United States, imported Rohypnol came to prominence in the 1990s as an inexpensive recreational sedative and a "date rape" drug.

  • The tablets are sold on the street for $0.50 to $5 a piece. In a single 1- or 2-mg dose, Rohypnol reduces anxiety, inhibition, and muscular tension with a potency that is approximately 10 times that of diazepam (Valium).
  • Higher doses produce anterograde amnesia, lack of muscular control, and loss of consciousness.
  • Effects occur about 30 minutes after ingestion, peak at two hours, and may last up to eight to 12 hours.
  • The effects are much greater with the concurrent ingestion of alcohol or other sedating drugs.
  • Some users experience hypotension, dizziness, confusion, visual disturbances, urinary retention, or aggressive behavior.
  • The withdrawal syndrome includes headache, tension, anxiety, restlessness, muscle pain, photosensitivity, numbness and tingling of the extremities, and increased seizure potential.


Ketamine was derived from phencyclidine PCP in the 1960s for use as a dissociative anesthetic. It causes anesthesia without respiratory depression by inhibiting the neuronal uptake of norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate activation in the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor channel. This agent can cause bizarre ideations and hallucinations-side effects that limited its medical use but appealed to recreational drug users.

  • It's difficult to manufacture; therefore, most of the illicit supply is diverted from human and veterinary anesthesia products.
  • It's distributed in a liquid form that can be ingested or injected.
  • In clubs, it usually has been dried to a powder and is smoked in a mixture of marijuana or tobacco, or is taken intranasally.
  • A typical method uses a nasal inhaler, called a "bullet" or "bumper"; an inhalation is called a "bump".
  • It is often is taken in "trail mixes" of methamphetamine, cocaine, sildenafil citrate (Viagra), or heroin.
  • Effects of ketamine ingestion appear rapidly and last about 30 to 45 minutes, with sensations of floating outside the body, visual hallucinations, and a dream-like state.
  • Along with these "desired" effects, users also commonly experience confusion, anterograde amnesia, and delirium. They also may experience tachycardia, palpitations, hypertension, and respiratory depression with apnea.
  • "Flashbacks" or visual disturbances can be experienced days or weeks after ingestion. Some chronic users become addicted and exhibit severe withdrawal symptoms that require detoxification.

Video About Club Drugs


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