Club drugs are a group of drugs most often used by teens and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties to heighten sensory perceptions and reduce inhibitions.
We do not know all of the sources, chemicals, and possible contaminants used to make many club drugs, making consequences hard to determine. This class of drugs includes: MDMA (ecstasy), rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine.
- Ecstasy: MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), better known as ecstasy, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that acts like both a stimulant and a hallucinagen. Users may call it XTC, X, E, Adam, Eve, clarity, hug, beans, love drug, lovers' speed, peace, uppers, or molly.
How Is Ecstasy Used?
MDMA is usually taken orally either as capsules or tablets, but may also be crushed and snorted. It is occasionally smoked, but rarely injected. Ecstasy is rarely used alone--it is common for users to mix Ecstasy with other substances such as alcohol and marijuana.
Ecstasy produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, and distortions in time, perception, and tactile experiences.
What Are the Risks Associated with Ecstasy Use?
Ecstasy can be dangerous to overall health and, on rare occasions, lethal. Some of the effects include increases in heart rate and blood pressure and other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating. In high doses, Ecstasy can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature which can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia) resulting in liver, kidney, cardiovascular system failure, or death.
- Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
Flunitrazepam is a central nervous system depressant and is classified as a benzodiazepine [link to benzo fact sheet]. It is not approved for medical use in the United States, and its importation is banned. kk
It is commonly known as the “date rape” drug because it can be odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Users may call it forget-me pill, Mexican Valium, R2, roche, roofies, roach, rope, or wolfies.
How Is Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) Misused?
Flunitrazepam is usually ingested orally in a pill form or dissolved in a liquid; the drug can also be ground up and snorted.
It is used for its intoxicating effect. It is best known for being placed in the alcoholic drink of an unsuspecting victim to prevent resistance to sexual assault, leaving the victim unaware of what has happened.
What Are the Risks Associated with Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) Use?
Flunitrazepam causes amnesia, decreased reaction time, impaired mental functioning and judgment, confusion, aggression, and excitability. Like other benzodiazepines, chronic use of Rohypnol can produce tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction. When mixed with alcohol and/or other central nervous system depressants, it can be lethal.
- GHB: Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) also known as Xyrem® is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is prescribed to treat narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). It exists naturally in the brain, but at much lower concentrations than when GHB is taken recreationally.
Much like Rohypnol, this drug is available in an odorless, colorless, and tasteless form. Users may call it easy lay, G, Georgia home boy, GHB, goop, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy, liquid X, or scoop.
How Is GHB Misused?
GHB is usually ingested orally, either in a liquid or powder form. GHB dissolved in liquid such as water, juice, or alcohol has been packaged in small vials or small water bottles.
GHB is misused for its intoxicating effects. Like Rohypnol, it is better known for being placed in the alcoholic drink of an unsuspecting victim to prevent resistance to sexual assault, leaving the victim unaware of what has happened.
GHB also has anabolic effects and has been used by bodybuilders to aid in fat reduction and muscle building.
What Are the Risks Associated with GHB Use?
Coma and seizures can occur following use of GHB. Combined use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and breathing difficulties. Regular use of GHB can lead to addiction and withdrawal that includes insomnia, anxiety, tremors, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and occasional psychotic thoughts.
- Ketamine: Ketamine is mostly used in veterinary practice as an animal tranquilizer. It causes detachment from pain and the environment. Ketamine is manufactured commercially as a powder or liquid. When sold illegally, it is usually a white crystalline powder.
Users may call it Cat Tranquilizer, Cat Valium, Jet, Jet K, K, Kit Kat, Purple, Special K, Special La Coke, Super Acid, Super K, and Vitamin K.
How is Ketamine Misused?
Powdered ketamine is cut into lines known as “bumps” and snorted, or smoked in marijuana or tobacco cigarettes. Liquid ketamine is injected intramuscularly or mixed into drinks. Ketamine is found by itself or in combination with MDMA, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine.
The drug has hallucinogenic effects, which means that it changes thinking, perception of time and emotions, and distorts vision and hearing and causes hallucinations. Similar to Rohypnol and GHB, it has also been used to “spike” drinks prior to sexual assault.
What Are the Risks Associated with Ketamine Use?
Low-dose intoxication impairs attention, learning ability, and memory. At higher doses, ketamine can cause dreamlike states and hallucinations. Flashbacks can occur several weeks after use. Ketamine may also cause agitation, depression, cognitive difficulties, unconsciousness, delirium and amnesia.
Club Drugs Use in NYC
- In 2011, 4.7% of NYC High School students reported having used Ecstasy one or more times in their life
- In 2008-2009, past year prevalence of Ecstasy use among New Yorkers aged 12 or older was reported at 0.9%, or 57,000 individuals
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Last Updated: January 7, 2013