What are "club drugs"?
Club drugs are popular in nightclubs, at parties and at raves (all-night dance parties). Club drugs make users feel more open and intimate, and less shy. The most common club drugs are MDMA ("ecstasy"), GHB ("liquid ecstasy"), flunitrazepam ("roofies") and ketamine ("special K"). They have many other slang names.
Are club drugs safe?
No. Although most club drugs look like prescription medicines, they are made illegally and can cause harm. Often, these drugs are a mix of unknown products. Club drugs harm the brain and may cause memory problems. They can also cause physical problems such as loss of muscle control, blurred vision and seizures. Drugs such as MDMA are stimulants that can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Taking drugs such as GHB can lead to breathing problems or loss of consciousness.
Are club drugs addictive?
Yes. Many club drugs are types of methamphetamine ("meth"), which is very addictive. People also can become addicted if they use GHB, ketamine and flunitrazepam repeatedly. These drugs can cause severe and long-lasting symptoms.
Is it safe to use a club drug in a small amount?
No. People react differently to these drugs, and even a single pill can cause serious side effects, including death, in some people. Also, because they are made illegally, the strength of these drugs can vary from batch to batch.
How do I know if my friends are taking club drugs?
Club drugs may cause people to get too hot. If a friend looks too hot or feels weak or sick, get him or her to a cool, quiet place as soon as you can. If the person is thirsty, give him or her a sports drink (like Gatorade), not plain water. If the person doesn't start feeling better, get medical help right away.
Club Drugs: MDMA, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, and Ketamine by PM Gahlinger, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. (American Family Physician June 01, 2004, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040601/2619.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff