The Danger of Club Drugs
Club drugs are exactly what you think they are: normally consumed in a club. Despite the simple explanation, club drugs range between different types and forms depending on consumers’ preferences.
The club is filled with a multitude of different things associated with the night’s mood. The lights, music, drinks, and packed dancefloor only lay the foundation for many club-goers. To make the night more exciting, many club-goers bring or search for drugs that can give them the energy they need to feel the night’s vibe.
Unfortunately, the drugs club-goers consume have effects that are totally disregarded, or even unknown, and can either show themselves while in the club, after the club or later in life.
It’s important to know and understand club drugs and how they affect people, addiction potential, how to stop using club drugs, and how to avoid using club drugs in the first place.
- What are club drugs?
- The Effects of Club Drugs
- Identifying Club Drug Use in Friends
- Getting Addicted to Club Drugs
- Advising Others About the Dangers
What Are Club Drugs?
Club drugs are recreational drugs that are taken to boost the party experience of anyone attending one. It’s very common to enter a club and smell the scent of marijuana or see someone drinking enough alcohol to heal a gunshot wound. It’s also very common for anyone looking for “a good time” to ingest other drugs that can take them higher than marijuana.
Club drugs aren’t exclusive to specific drugs but can vary depending on location, party environment, and preference.
According to The National Institute of Drug Abuse, “club drugs tend to be used by teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties.” Club drugs examples include, but aren’t limited to:
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) – Prescribed as Xyrem, also known as the “date rape drug.”
Rohypnol – Depressant and benzodiazepine with generic name Flunitrazepam.
Ketamine – General, short-acting anesthetic with hallucinogenic effects. Sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault crimes.
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) – Known as a party drug, ecstasy comes in pill or powder form; the pill has a variety of logos and colors.
Methamphetamine – Stimulant speeds up the body’s system that comes as a pill, powder, or crystal.
LSD (acid) – Very strong hallucinogen sold on streets that is odorless and colorless with high potential for abuse.
Cocaine – White, crystalline powder derived from coca leaves.
The Effects of Club Drugs
Club drugs are peculiar when determining their effects because they’re usually taken situationally, in this case, at party events.
Although the user enjoys, club drugs can develop lasting effects on the body that can turn fatal if not treated properly.
Some club drugs taken can even affect how you act without leaving a memory for you to backtrack to.
Unfortunately, those same drugs are used to take advantage of people (especially women), causing them to do sexual acts or even give things they wouldn’t normally give to anyone (property, money, information, etc.).
Some of the effects from the drugs listed above are:
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) – hallucinations, euphoria, drowsiness, decreased anxiety, excited and aggressive behavior, addictive
Rohypnol - muscle relaxant, decreased anxiety, drowsiness, amnesia, sleep, slurred speech, loss of coordination, impaired mental function, confusion, addictive.
Ketamine - hallucinatory effects last 30-60 minutes, distort sights and sounds, induce feelings of calmness and relaxation, relief from pain, immobility, and amnesia. The body feels out of control, agitation, depression, unconsciousness, hallucinations, flashbacks.
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) – Increased motor activity, alertness, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, tremors, teeth clenching, nausea, sweating, euphoria, empathy, reduced inhibition, chills, blurred vision, confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, severe dehydration, a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), which can lead to liver, kidney and cardiovascular failure and death
Methamphetamine - Highly addictive, agitation, increased heart rate, and blood pressure, Increased respiration and body temperature, anxiety, paranoia, high doses can cause convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, stroke, or death
LSD (acid) – Hallucinations, distorted perception of shape and size of objects, colors, and sounds, acute anxiety and depression, flashbacks days and even months after, elevated heart rate, higher body temperature, increased blood pressure, dilated pupils
Cocaine – Smoking or injection creates an intense euphoric “rush,” tolerance builds quickly, easy to overdose, cardiac arrhythmias, increased blood pressure and heart rate, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, loss of appetite, stroke or death, sudden cardiac arrest, convulsion, the crash that follows a high is mental and physical exhaustion, sleep, and depression lasting several days. Following the crash, users crave cocaine again.
Noticing Your Friends
Sometimes, the effects of club drugs aren’t noticed when you’re in a dark room filled and possibly intoxicated yourself. For many intoxicated individuals around others who are intoxicated, both parties either don’t realize either is intoxicated, or they know and encourage it.
However, symptoms of club drugs are very overt if paid attention to coherently. Educating yourself on the effects of club drugs will allow you to have another perspective on using club drugs because if you’re going through it, then it’s a high chance your friends that take them with you are experiencing the same thing.
Look out for these symptoms when you or your loved one is using club drugs:
Problems remembering things they recently said or did
Loss of coordination, dizziness, fainting
Chills or sweating
While inebriated on club drugs while partying, adrenaline can be pumping so much that the urge to consume more drugs to overcome the adrenaline might grow stronger. Noticing the effects of club drugs can deter a user getting closer to experiencing a possible overdose.
When overdosing on club drugs, the effects include:
Problems with vital signs (temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure) are possible and life-threatening. Vital sign values can be increased, decreased, or completely absent.
Sleepiness, confusion, and coma (when someone cannot be aroused) are common and dangerous if the person breathes vomit into the lungs (aspirated).
Skin can be cool and sweaty or hot and dry.
Chest pain is possible and can be caused by heart or lung damage. Shortness of breath may occur. Breathing may get rapid, slow, deep, or shallow.
Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are possible. Vomiting blood, or blood in bowel movements, can be life-threatening.
Specific drugs can damage specific organs, depending on the drug.
Club Drug Addiction
The first thing that needs to happen for treatment is acknowledgment.
Many drug and alcohol users tend to look at their habits as necessities for the moment. They feel like the real fun starts when they can get to a “looser” point in their body and mind.
Admitting your usage of club drugs isn’t enough. Anyone can admit they use club drugs, especially when speaking to someone else who uses them. Acknowledgment is comprised of admitting your usage as well as acknowledging the effects it has on the body.
For some, the effects are just what they feel at that time and nothing else, at least in their perspective. Unfortunately, that’s not how acknowledgment works. What happens when you leave the club while still intoxicated? What happens when you get home and try to fall asleep, but you can’t? What happens when you wake up the next morning? How does your body feel? When taking club drugs, the aftereffect must be considered and evaluated by the user to determine if they want to go through that or not.
Accepting your usage of club drugs is the second thing that needs to happen for treatment and will help you come to terms with the fact that you are doing more harm than good when taking club drugs. You’ve already acknowledged your usage and the effects of it, but trying to deny the effects happening to you will only hold you, or your loved one, back from declining offers for club drugs or even getting the help needed to stop taking them if the effects have gotten worse.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Club Drugs
Simply stopping your usage of club drugs can be a way for you to treat yourself but keep in mind that depending on how severe the usage is, it will determine how bad withdrawals will be.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms are, but are not limited to:
- Body sweats
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Change in mood
After acknowledgment and acceptance, if you feel like your urge and usage have increased, get some help from a medical professional.
Advising Others About The Dangers
The euphoria from club drugs might be a fun, experimental thing to experience at first, but the lasting effects aren’t talked about enough.
Many of the club drugs are used by young people. Although youth is looked at as something that should hold all of the experiences in life, the life experiences that are assumed to be lived won’t be that enjoyable in the long run if using club drugs persist.
Educate your loved ones on the lasting effects of club drugs if you have the information.
Advice to give others:
- Don’t accept drinks, food, or substances from other people. This includes strangers and people they don’t know very well.
- Don’t drink or eat anything they didn’t open themselves.
- Keep drinks with them and in their sight at all times.
- Watch their friends’ drinks.
Europe PMC says, “effective education and timely intervention may prevent these addictive drugs from becoming a way of life, a lifestyle that may have a literal “dead end.”
 DrugAbuse.gov: Club Drugs
 DEA.gov: GHB
 DEA.gov: Rohypnol
 DEA.gov: Ketamine
 DEA.gov: Ecstasy
 DEA.gov: Methamphetamine
 DEA.gov: LSD
 DEA.gov: Cocaine
 Alabama Public Health: Club Drugs
If you’re having an issue with club drugs and have questions about treatment, give us a call at (888) 906-0952
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Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD MPH on 11/29/2021
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