Spending time in a bar, club, or party environment can be fun, as long as proper precautions are taken, such as finding a designated driver. Unfortunately, a variety of substances known as “club drugs” have infiltrated these areas and made them more dangerous. Whether a person is using these club drugs or lacing another person’s drink, they are dangerous and need to be understood if you spend any time in the bar or in clubs.
What Drugs Are Considered Club Drugs?
Club drugs are those that are used in a party setting to enhance the experience, or in some instances, to influence other people’s behaviors. They go by a variety of slang names, and to improve your knowledge on them, we are going to list each type here, their effects, and their street names, so that you know whether someone you love is abusing these substances or plans on introducing them to you:
- Rohypnol – Commonly called “roofies,” these substances are a benzodiazepine that takes effect very quickly. They cause a variety of sedative effects, including dizziness, confusion, loss of control, anxiety, numbness, and even seizures. They are perhaps the most heavily used subset of club drugs known as “rape” drugs, as they are often used to either cause a person to be susceptible to suggestion or to put them in a state of unconsciousness.
- MDMA – Often known as Ecstasy, XTC, X, Adam, Clarity, and Lover’s Speed, MDMA drugs are very similar to amphetamines and cause a variety of effects, including intense stimulation and even hallucinations. Effects last as long as six hours, with negative side effects including confusion, paranoia, hypertension, dehydration, and even anxiety. Typically taken in pill form.
- GHB – Known as Grievous Bodily Harm, G, Liquid Ecstasy, or Georgia Home Boy, GHB is typically taken in liquid, powder, or tablet forms. Users often combine it with alcohol to increase its effects. It is a depressant that sedates the body and decreases self control. In this way, it is often used as a “rape” drug or even as a way to poison somebody.
- Ketamine – An injection, liquid, or powder drug that causes effects similar to PCP. This includes extreme energy, hallucinations, and a disconnection with reality. It can often produce psychotic breaks that may last for extended periods. It can also cause amnesia, high blood pressure, poor motor function, and even respiratory problems. Commonly referred to as Special K, K, Vitamin K, and Cat Valiums.
- Methamphetamine – Unlike its sister drug amphetamine, methamphetamine has no medical use. Instead, it is used to increase a person’s energy to high levels by speeding up the processes of the body. This can cause a variety of dangerous symptoms, including heavy sweating, memory loss, aggression, mental damage, and even heart attacks. Commonly called Speed, Ice, Chalk, Meth, Crystal, Crank, Fire, and Glass.
- LSD – Often called Acid, Boomers, and Yellow Sunshines, LSD causes severe hallucinations when ingested orally. It can cause a person to lose connection with reality in a dangerous way and may lead to temporary psychosis. Increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as sleeplessness, are also common. “Flashbacks” to a hallucinatory state can occur years after the last use of LSD.
Now that you better understand the nature of these drugs and their effects, we’re going to look at a specific circumstance when one-time use of a club drug caused serious damage to a young girl’s mind. Although club drugs might seem fun or even “safe” to many who use them, their potential danger level is high, and the risk of developing serious side effects, or even addiction, is very high.
The Dangers Caused By These Drugs
In one unfortunate instance of club drug use, a teenager purchased and took a single pill of MDMA. The effects it produced on her were instantaneous: she started to hear noises that weren’t there, had trouble speaking, and behaved in erratic ways. The girl was rushed to the emergency room for evaluation. While awake and alert, she could not communicate successfully with others. She had no past history of mental concerns and her family had a similarly clean history.
Her behavior grew increasingly erratic, and included severe crying episodes, sexually inappropriate behavior, nonsensical speech, strange claims that weren’t true, episodes of paranoia and severe social anxiety, and other problems. Even after two weeks of treatment, her behavior remained difficult to predict and she was sent home from school almost immediately. At home, she would grow agitated and leave the house at unpredictable times.
After heavy doses of a medicine used to treat dementia (olanzapine), she gradually begin behaving more normally. Eventually, she broke free and became closer to who she was before. It is important to understand that the drug wasn’t literally in her system this entire time, but that it caused a series of chemical imbalances in her mind that caused her to behavioral concerns.
In other cases, people who take club drugs may grow aggressive towards other and get into dangerous physical altercations. They have also behave in irrational and risky ways, including driving too fast or jumping off of high areas and injuring themselves. Club drugs often remove a person’s sense of self-control and put them in danger of behaving poorly. However, even people who have no intention of taking club drugs may be a risk of drinking laced liquor.
The “Rape” Drug Epidemic
As mentioned previously, many club drugs (such as Rohypnol) are used for criminal sexual purposes. These “rape” drugs sedate a person in a way similar to, but more potent than, alcohol and, at the very least, make them susceptible to influence. In this way, a person may be able to convince them to perform sexual acts that they wouldn’t have otherwise performed.
In the worst case scenario, “rape” drugs are used to make a person unconscious and unable to resist sexual advances. Cases of women waking up in a stranger’s bed with no memory of the night before are common. Even scarier, women may come to in an alley or behind a building, having been left behind by their rapist. These instances are psychologically damaging to the women who experience them.
However, women aren’t the only people who many fall a victim to these drugs. Men may also receive them and end up being violated. That’s why it’s important for everyone who plans on attending bars, clubs, or parties to understand the ways in which to avoid club drugs.
Tips On Avoiding Club Drugs
One of the best ways you can avoid club drugs is to understand them. For example, if someone at a bar offers you “vitamin K,” you now know that it is ketamine, what kinds of effects it causes, and the dangers of using it. Simply say “no” to any substance that a person offers you in a party setting, no matter what promises they make about its effects.
What about protecting yourself from getting a laced drink? The best ways to avoid this include bringing your own drinks, never taking a drink from a stranger, keeping your drink within sight, and drinking out of a sealed container which you keep on your person at all times. It’s also important to avoid getting severely drunk, as this often makes people more open to doing things they wouldn’t do otherwise.
You should also surround yourself with people whom you have known for a long time, those you trust. Everyone should make a concentrated effort to watch their friends’ drinks and make sure nobody slips anything in them. Creating a support group like this is crucial to any party situation, as it will keep everyone safe from the dangers of club drugs.
Learning More About Club Drugs
If you or someone you love uses club drugs, is addicted to club drugs, or has been affected by them in other negative ways, please contact us at DrugRehab.org today. Our specialists can help you understand the effects of these substances and give you the guidance you need to regain a positive life.
American Family Physician – Club Drugs: MDMA, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, and Ketamine
The Primary Care Companion For CNS Disorders – Persistent Psychosis After a Single Ingestion of “Ecstasy” (MDMA)
Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Rohypnol
Office On Women’s Health – Date rape drugs fact sheet