In recent years there has been an increase in the popularity and use of substances known as club drugs. Parents, high school students, college students, or anyone who goes to bars or parties should be aware of the types of drugs you will find out there, and what the effects of those drugs can be. The club drugs are often used by young adults at raves, trances, dance clubs and bars, however over the last few years these drugs have been found in more mainstream settings.

Club drug is a vague term used for such drugs as MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, methamphetamine and LSD. Some facts about club drugs are as follows:

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA):

Popular slang and street names for this drug are: Ecstasy, XTC, X, Adam, Clarity, Lover's Speed. Chemically, MDMA is similar to the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA can produce both stimulant and mild sensory-altering effects. The drug is usually taken in the form of a tablet or capsule and the effects can last anywhere between 3 to 6 hours. It has been known to cause depression, sleep problems, and anxiety for days to weeks after it's use.

MDMA causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and a sense of alertness somewhat like amphetamines do. It can also cause an increase in body temperature which can lead to liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure. Chronic use of MDMA has been associated with memory impairment, which may indicate damage to the parts of the brain involved in memory processing.

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

Popular slang and street names for this drug are: Grievous Bodily Harm, G, Liquid Ecstasy, Georgia Home Boy. GHB can be produced in clear liquid, white powder, tablet, and capsule forms, and it is used a lot in combination with alcohol. GHB is a central nervous system depressant and effects begin 10 to 20 minutes after the drug is taken. The effects usually last about 4 hours, depending on the dosage. At higher doses, GHB's sedative effects may result in sleep, coma, or death. The drug causes a sedating, euphoria effect on the body. Due to it's effects on the body both GHB and Rohypnol are known as "date-rape drugs."

An interesting fact: GHB is cleared from the body relatively quickly, in approximately 2 hours. There are no GHB detection tests for use in emergency rooms and many clinicians are unfamiliar with it, so many GHB incidents go undetected. Also, in July 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved the medically supervised use of GHB for the treatment of cataplexy (episodes in which muscles suddenly go limp) associated with narcolepsy.


Popular slang or street names for this drug are: Special K, K, Vitamin K, Cat Valium. This drug is an anesthetic that can be injected, snorted, or smoked. It should be noted that Ketamine has been approved for both human and animal use in medical settings since 1970 and about 90 percent of the ketamine sold legally today is intended for veterinary use. Ketamine is produced in liquid form or as a white powder that is often snorted or smoked with marijuana or cigarettes and large doses cause reactions that are close to those associated with phencyclidine (PCP). The drug's effects cause dream-like states and altered perceptions or hallucinations.

Side effects from low doses of ketamine usually cause impaired attention, learning ability, and memory. Side effects from high doses can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.


Popular slang or street names for this drug are: Roofies, Rophies, Roche, Forget-me Pill. Rohypnol belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines; which include Valium, Halcion, Xanax, and Versed. It is not approved for prescription use in the United States, although it is used in many countries as a treatment for insomnia, as a sedative, and as a pre-surgery anesthetic. Rohypnol is tasteless and odorless, and it dissolves easily in beverages. The sedative and toxic effects of Rohypnol are made worse by the use of alcohol. Even without alcohol, a dose of Rohypnol as small as 1 mg can impair a user for 8 to 12 hours.

The drug can cause "anterograde amnesia;" that is, individuals may not remember events they experienced while under the effects of the drug. It should be noted and understood that both Rohypnol and GHB are known as "date-rape drugs," because it causes these effects. There are wide reports that this drug has been used in sexual assaults.


Popular slang or street names for this drug are: Speed, Ice, Chalk, Meth, Crystal, Crank, Fire, Glass. Methamphetamine is a toxic, addictive stimulant that affects many areas of the central nervous system. The drug is often made in homemade labs from relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. Methamphetamine can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally. It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that dissolves easily in drink.

Methamphetamine abuse is associated with serious health consequences, including memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and cardiac and neurological damage. Users typically display signs of agitation, excited speech, decreased appetite, and increased physical activity levels. It should also be noted that a lot of people who suffer from ADD or ADHD have reported an opposite effect when using the drug. They have said that it calms them and helps them to concentrate. Unfortunately a lot of people with these symptoms, who can not afford prescription drugs to help with their ADD and ADHD turn to this illegal substance.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Popular slang or street name for this drug are: Acid, Boomers, Yellow Sunshines. LSD is a hallucinogen, inducing abnormalities in sensory perceptions. The effects of LSD are unpredictable depending on the amount taken, on the surroundings in which the drug is used, and on the user's personality, mood, and expectations. LSD is typically taken by mouth. It is sold in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms, as well as on pieces of blotter paper that have absorbed the drug. Users usually feel the effect of the drug within 30 to 90 minutes of taking it. The physical effects include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. There are two long-term disorders associated with LSD persistent psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder which used to be called "flashbacks".

It's important to know the facts and how to keep yourself safe if you didn't agree to take the drug. What I usually tell people is when at parties, bars, or clubs, keep a close eye on your drink. Take it everywhere with you including the bathroom. Do not chance it by asking a friend to watch your drink for you. I also tell people that if you are going to drink, it is easier to keep your beer that is in a bottle safe then a mixed drink. If you have a beer bottle you can just center your thumb over to opening to keep anyone from slipping something you do not want into your drink.

Also, be careful when people offer you any of these drugs. Know that it may make you feel good for a few minutes or hours, but the long term effect is something that can scar you for life.