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Club Drugs: What's all the Rave About?

Club drugs are illegal drugs most commonly found on the club scene: Rohypnol, Ecstasy, GHB, and Ketamine, These drugs are typically seen at nightclubs, bars, parties, and all night raves. Club drugs are attractive to young people because they are cheap, intoxicating highs which are mistakenly perceived as “safe.”

ECSTASY aka MDMA, X, E, M, eve, love drug, blue lips, charity, Scooby snacks, 2CE, 2CL, 69s, hug drug, morning shot, speed for lovers

Ecstasy or MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetimine) is a stimulant that combines the properties of methamphetamine or "speed" with mind-altering properties. Ecstasy is the most commonly used designer drug. As the use of Ecstasy has increased, so have the number of other drugs sold under the same name, Today there are at least seven Schedule I controlled substances, other than MDMA, commonly sold under the name of ecstasy. Aspirin, ephedrine, caffeine, and other relatively harmless over-the-counter drugs have all been discovered in tablets sold as ecstasy, and so have a number of potentially dangerous substances such as dog worming pills and prescription medications like Atropine and dextromethorphan (DXM).

The pleasurable effects of ecstasy generally last only 4-6 hours depending on the dosage and can lead to over-exertion from high levels of physical activity.

Short-term Effects:

  • increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • jaw-tightening
  • vomiting
  • blurred vision
  • dehydration, dry mouth

Long-term Effects:

  • anxiety, depression, panic
  • insomnia
  • permanent brain damage (to the neurons that release serotonin)
  • memory Impairment
  • high blood pressure
  • paranoia
  • acute liver damage
  • malignant hyperthermia (development of a sudden and rapid high fever, muscle rigidity, and an irregular heartbeat)
  • muscular breakdown
  • kidney and cardiovascular system breakdown
  • heart attacks and strokes
  • death

MDMA/Ecstasy rarely, if ever, contains pure MDMA. It is often adulterated with drugs ranging from heroin to PMA, causing users to think they have a bad “roll” and ingest more, which can lead to overdose and even death.

KETAMINE aka Ket, K, Vitamin K, Super C, Kit Kat, Special-K, Cat Valium, Super Acid

Ketamine, or Special K, as it is known on the club scene, is a dissociative anesthetic that was originally used as a veterinary surgical anesthetic. This drug can now be found in liquid or powder form. Ketamine can be smoked with marijuana or tobacco, or snorted. It may be associated with a sensation of floating or connection with alternate worlds. A user of Ketamine may also experience impaired perception.

Effects of large Doses:

  • amnesia
  • extreme difficulty moving
  • feeling of moving into another reality
  • convulsion
  • depression
  • delayed or reduced sensations

Effects of Low Doses:

  • numbness
  • profound hallucinations
  • visual distortion; vertigo
  • "out-of-body" experiences
  • loss of senses, sense of time, and identity
  • black-outs

Ketamine is also believed to be more addictive that other psychedelics, with users often taking multiple doses in one day.

GHB aka G, Gamma-OH, fantasy, Easy Lay, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid E, Water, Liquid X, Scoop, Jib, Soap

GHB (gammahydroxybutyrate) is a central nervous system depressant that has intoxicating effects. It is used most commonly in the form of a white powder which is taken recreationally as a depressant with effects quite similar to those of alcohol.  One of the major concerns with GHB is that the recreational dosage range is narrow and even small overdoses can cause temporary unrousable unconsciousness (a type of coma) and large overdoses (poisonings) can be life-threatening. Another concern is that GHB can be manufactured by almost anyone, so users usually do not know what they are really taking.

Effects of GHB:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of muscle control
  • extreme grogginess or dizziness
  • sedation
  • difficulty thinking
  • respiratory problems
  • amnesia or coma
  • death(especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs)

This club drug is often used as a sedative to come down off of drugs such as ecstasy, speed, or cocaine. GHB has been associated with date rapes because of its sedative effects. 

ROHYPNOL aka Date Rape drug, Circles, Ruffies, R-2, Mexican Valium, Rope, Forget-Me-pill, Rib, Trip-and-Fall, Mind Erasers, forget it

Rohypnol, generically called flunitrazepam, is a member of the benzodiazepine family, which includes drugs such as Xanax and Valium. It is used in other countries as a short-term treatment for insomnia, as a sedative hypnotic, and a pre-anesthetic. It is not legally manufactured or sold in the US, but is sold by prescription in Europe and Latin America and smuggled across the U.S. borders. It can be used in combination with other drugs, and can be crushed and snorted, or ingested orally. When combined with alcohol, the negative effects on memory and judgment are even greater.

Effects of Rohypnol:

  • drowsiness
  • decreased blood pressure
  • impaired memory
  • excitability or aggressive behavior
  • impaired judgment
  • impaired motor skills, which can make a person unable to resist a sexual attack
  • blackouts lasting 24-48 hours after ingestion
  • confusion
  • urinary retention

Rohypnol has no taste or odor, which makes it unnoticeable when slipped into someone’s drink. The victim does not know what has happened until feelings of dizziness and disorientation begin. Victims often report having no memory of what happened. 


National Institute on Drug Abuse 
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