If you’ve ever been to a rave or dance party, you or someone you know may have used club drugs. These chemical substances are meant to stimulate the senses and heighten the experience of the party. Yet club drugs are far from innocent — in fact, they are quite dangerous and even deadly.
What Are Club Drugs?
Club drugs, also called party drugs or designer drugs, are meant to affect a person’s behavior, change their awareness of the surroundings and alter their mood. They’re used mostly by young adults or adolescents at raves, house parties, clubs and bars. Each type of club drug impacts an individual differently and comes with dangerous side effects. Some party drugs are even used as date rape drugs.
The Most Common Club Drugs
The list of synthetic club drugs grows every year. Some of the common club drugs and their street names are:
- Methamphetamine: Also called crystal meth, meth, ice, crystal, speed, tina and crank. It’s an amphetamine derivative with stimulant properties.
- Ecstasy: Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is ecstasy’s chemical name. Street names include X, E, M&M, XTC, Adam, bean, clarity, roll and essence. Ecstasy is a hallucinogenic methamphetamine derivative.
- Phencyclidine (PCP): Also called angel dust, elephant tranquilizer, the sheets, lovely, Love Boat, crystal, TAC, crystal joints (CJs) and hog. It’s known for producing a dissociative or out-of-body experience.
- Ketamine: Also referred to as special K, K, fort dodge and vitamin K. Ketamine is a derivative of PCP used to create hallucinations and a numbing sensation in the arms and legs.
- LSD: Lysergic acid diethylamide’s street names include acid and mellow yellow. This popular club drug has long-lasting psychoactive properties that distort and alter sensations and perceptions.
- Shrooms: Psilocybin mushrooms, also called shrooms or magic mushrooms, is a psychoactive drug.
The most common date rape drugs include:
- Rohypnol or roofies
- Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid or GHB, liquid ecstasy, grievous bodily harm, liquid x or Georgia homeboy
History of Club Drugs
The rave scene became popular in the 1980s in England, then moved to the United States where it continues to be extremely popular. These all-night dance parties are often held on short notice at inconspicuous locations like warehouses or abandoned properties. Raves are characterized by overloading the senses with ear-pounding music, bright lights and club drugs.
In addition to raves, club drugs are popular in any social setting where people want to experience psychoactive sensations.
Short-Term Effects of Club Drugs
While each club drug has a unique impact on the body, they share many characteristics:
- Effect on your brain: Club drugs impair your senses and impact your memory, coordination and judgment. They can have a damaging effect on your brain’s neurons.
- Effect on your body: Physical side effects of club drugs include loss of muscle and motor control and blurred vision. They can also cause seizures. Many club drugs, like ecstasy, stimulate your body and increase blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to heart or kidney failure.
- Effect on your self-control: Some club drugs are used as date rape drugs. GHB and roofies act as sedatives that immobilize you or make you unconscious. Users often don’t remember what they said or did under the influence of these drugs.
If you’re not sure if you’ve ingested a club drug, look for these signs:
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Dizziness or fainting
- Feelings of depression
- Difficulty remembering things you’ve recently said or done
- Sleep problems
The Dangers of Club Drugs
Club drugs are not always what they seem. These substances are often created in makeshift labs, so it’s impossible to know what chemicals were used in their production. Each time you take a club drug, its potency can vary. High doses of club drugs can lead to difficulty breathing, coma or even death. People often mix club drugs and alcohol, which is a deadly combination.
How Gateway Can Help
Club drugs, like many illicit substances, can be addictive and lead to a substance use disorder. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, help is available.
At Gateway, we provide compassionate care for those addicted to drugs or alcohol. Our treatment programs are tailored to your exact needs so we can address your substance use and get you on the road to recovery. Contact us today to learn more.