Club drugs is a catch all phrase used to describe a litany of psychoactive drugs that are usually abused by teens and young adults at nightclubs, parties, and concerts. There have been some high profile deaths as a result of this drug which has understandably raised questions about its safety. Celebrities sometimes glamorize these drugs by calling them non-threatening names like “Ecstasy.” Yet, the drug can be used in concert with other substances like alcohol which always creates a dangerous situation and can be fatal.
Five of the most popular club drugs:
Both molly and ecstasy are referring to the drug MDMA which can create feelings of euphoria, extra energy, and empathy. In the 1980s, it was used as a supplement to psychotherapy in order to facilitate openness and improve communication between patients and caregivers. Once it became a recreational drug, it was made illegal and labeled as a Schedule I Drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1985.
The only difference between molly and ecstasy is in their form: ecstasy is a pill or capsule whereas molly is a crystalline powder. The powder form is more pure; but it should be remembered that it’s quite simple to mix other chemicals into the powder while capsules and pills are not as easily altered.
Why people use MDMA
Both forms of MDMA are unique in that they act as a stimulant and mild psychedelic simultaneously. People using the drug have reported experiencing a feeling of satisfaction, the sense that they “love everyone,” that they have enough energy to dance “all night long” and they have heightened sensory perception.
While ecstasy is ingested as a capsule or pill, molly can be snorted (railed), “parachuted”—wrapped in a bit of tissue paper and swallowed—or inserted anally. Users often report that snorting the drug is unpleasant which then raises questions about exactly how uncomfortable anal insertion must be.
Side Effects and Risks of MDMA
Once the high wears off, side effects can include fatigue, depression, paranoia and anxiety, insomnia, even jaw soreness from teeth grinding.
There are also some significant risks during the high of MDMA itself, including heart attack, stroke, hyperthermia—elevated body temperature-- and hypernatremia—an excess of water in the body. All of these conditions can be fatal.
Ketamine, also known as “Special K” or “Vitamin K” is another widely abused club drug. It is a “dissociative anesthetic”—a drug that produces an unresponsive state. It was first developed for use in humans and later in animals, but now its use has been discontinued due to side effects.
Why people use Ketamine
People who use ketamine describe a feeling of “floating” and a pleasant sense of being outside their bodies. When large amounts of Ketamine are ingested, users can achieve a state of complete sensory detachment, known on the street as the “K hole.”
Ketamine has been described as a “date rape drug”; it is colorless and odorless and can be poured into someone’s drink, causing them to become unconscious and later experience amnesia. Ketamine can be taken in pill, capsule form, or in liquid form, injected into a vein, or even taken intramuscularly.
Side effects and risks of Ketamine
Ketamine can cause heart rhythm issues and low blood pressure, slow or depressed breathing, and unusual body movements. Little is known about the long term effects of the drug.
Rohypnol and GHB
These are primarily known as date rape drugs but they have been known to appear at clubs, taken voluntarily by those wishing for a “better” experience, and of course, sometimes involuntarily by victims of those with malicious intent. It's important for clubgoers to understand and accept all the risks that are present at public venues like clubs.