Club drugs are a group of psychoactive drugs that work on the central nervous system, causing changes in behavior, mood, and awareness. These illicit drugs are commonly referred to as designer drugs, since they were illegally manufactured in a laboratory instead of being found in nature like marijuana or opium derivatives. These club drugs, or designer drugs, are commonly used by adolescents, teens, or young adults in bars, concerts, nightclubs, raves and dance parties. However, they can also be used in other settings where extreme physical activity is often a component. What makes these drugs more dangerous is the fact that the chemical structure is often unknown to the user and can cause unwanted side effects, sometimes even resulting in death.
Methamphetamine, meth, crystal meth or ice is a popular club drug due to its stimulating effects. It is usually a white powder but can also be found in crystalized or fragmented rocks. Methamphetamine is highly addictive and it can be snorted, injected, smoked, and ingested. Meth is a seriously dangerous drug as it can contain some very deadly chemicals, such as rat poison. These chemicals were added during the illegal manufacturing process. Symptoms of meth use or abuse can include;
- Lead poisoning
- Irritability, nervousness
- Unreasonable fear, paranoia or suspicion
- Significant weight loss
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Clogged or runny nose
- Neglectfulness of work, studies, or other responsibilities
- Change in friends
- Loss of money
The effects of meth can sometimes almost be instant depending on the method used and can last up to 20 hours, whereas heavy users may stay awake for days at a time. Additional health risks include deterioration of appearance, heart attacks, strokes, malnutrition, loss of teeth, buildup of fluid in the lungs, which can ultimately lead to pneumonia, and eventually even death.
Amphetamines are prescription drugs such as adderall and ritalin. They are closely related to methamphetamines and have also become an increasingly popular drug found in clubs due to their stimulating effects.
Date Rape Drugs
Unfortunately, many unsuspecting partygoers, typically younger women or girls, who attend social events where club drugs are present unknowingly fall victim to sexual assault by the use of certain club drugs, otherwise known as date rape drugs. The most popular date rape drugs are gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) or rohypnol (roofies). While date rape drugs are sometimes used to aid in the sexual assault of an unkowing victim, there are still some who become addicted to these substances through the consensual use of these chemicals at places where club drugs are most popular.
Commonly referred to as liquid ecstasy or Georgia home boy, usually comes in a liquid form and is often undetectable when slipped into someone’s drink. Effects of GHB include;
- Loss of muscle control
- Seizure-like spasms
- Slowed heartbeat
- Slowed breathing
Effects of GHB begin anywhere from 15-60 minutes after use and can last up to 6 hours. Respiratory depression can become severe enough to require ventilators until full recovery has been achieved and many deaths have been linked to using GHB and alcohol at the same time.
Commonly referred to as Mexican valium or roofies, is typically manufactured as a white tablet. It is often odorless and colorless, making it easy to drop into someone’s drink. Symptoms of roofies include;
- Low blood pressure
- Lack of muscle control
- Visual disturbances
- Loss of inhibitions
- Loss of consciousness
- Aggressive behavior
The sedating effects of Rohypnol occur within 30 minutes after ingestion and can last anywhere between 8-12 hours. Alcohol can severely worsen the effects when combined with this intoxicating drug.
Ecstasy is a synthetic drug made from MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and is commonly cut or combined with other harmful illicit substances such as heroin or cocaine. Ecstasy is closely related to both hallucinogens and stimulants. It is often seen as a pressed pill that comes in many different bright colors. They are usually stamped on the front and back with animals like flamingos or other icons like articles of clothing. Effects of ecstasy can include;
- High blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Loss of consciousness
- Increased body temperature (hyperthermia)
- Muscle tension
- Involuntary teeth clenching
Ecstasy can take up to 60 minutes before the user begins to feel its effects and can last around 3-6 hours. The use of ecstasy can sometimes be fatal when combined with vigorous physical activity, such as dancing for a prolonged period of time. If the user does not seek medical treatment in time, the dehydration and hyperthermia that occurs can lead to kidney failure and swelling of the brain.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, otherwise known as acid or LSD, is a powerful hallucinogen that is common among teens and young adults in places like nightclubs, dance parties, and concerts. LSD is usually seen in a liquid form, it can be dropped on sheets of paper (blotter), pieces of candy or sometimes even sugar cubes. People can experience symptoms such as;
- Dilated pupils
- Increased or decreased body temperature
- Sweating or chills
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Panic attacks
- Terrifying thoughts or feelings
LSD can take around 30-60 minutes before the effects start to kick in and can last up to 12 hours, with some users reporting effects lasting up to 24. What makes LSD even more dangerous is the occasional inability to perceive personal danger, resulting in taking actions that may lead to grievous bodily harm or injury, sometimes even death.
Club drugs are dangerous for many different reasons, including the adverse reactions that can occur when taking them. Often times they are combined with other harmful chemicals and can have very serious side effects. Not only are they dangerous, but in places like night clubs and dance parties, date rape is common and is often hard to predict. The consensual use of these drugs can result in increased tolerance, leading to an eventual chemical addiction or dependency and many of these drugs have severe withdrawal symptoms. If you or someone you know is struggling with a club drug addiction or are suffering from withdrawals, there is a chance for recovery, and we suggest you reach out for help today!