Club Drug Use

Overview

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.

Prevention

How can I prevent someone from giving me a club drug?

Club drugs often are used as “date rape” drugs. The following are things you can do to prevent someone from giving you a club drug without your knowledge:

  • Always keep your drink with you.
  • Never take a drink from someone you don’t know and trust.
  • Watch out for your friends’ drinks.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • What are club drugs, and how are they different from other illicit drugs?
  • What are the dangers of taking club drugs?
  • What can I do if I think someone has given me a drug without my consent?
  • How do I know if my child is taking club drugs?
  • How can I start a conversation with my child about club drugs?

Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

What is GHB?

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is an illegal drug that is used as a muscle builder, a “party drug” and a “date-rape” drug. GHB is available in liquid form, powder form or as a pill. GHB has been linked to many serious illnesses and even deaths. GHB has many names.A certain form of GHB, sodium oxybate, (brand name: Xyrem) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat some of the symptoms of narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder). In people with narcolepsy, Xyrem can reduce daytime sleepiness and reduce cataplexy (weak or paralyzed muscles) attacks. However, Xyrem is only available with a prescription and its use is very tightly restricted.

What are the dangers of GHB use?

There are many side effects of GHB. They include:

These effects usually appear 10 to 20 minutes after a person takes the drug.

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Trouble breathing
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Impaired judgment
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Should I be worried about GHB?

Yes. Because GHB has no color or smell, it can easily be slipped into drinks and food. Even a very small amount of GHB may cause a person to “black out” (become unconscious). This is why GHB is often used as a “date-rape” drug.

What should I tell my children about GHB?

GHB is used most often by teenagers and young adults. Talk with your children about the dangers of GHB. Warn them not to accept drinks from other people or drink from containers they didn’t open themselves. Tell them to keep their drinks with them all the time, even if they go into the bathroom. If you have any questions, ask your doctor.

Common street names of GHB

  • Blue nitro
  • Cherry fX bombs
  • Cherry meth
  • Easy lay
  • Everclear
  • Firewater
  • Gamma G
  • Georgia homeboy
  • GHB
  • G.H. revitalizer
  • Gib
  • Goops
  • Great hormones at bedtime
  • Grievous bodily harm
  • G-riffick
  • Growth hormone booster
  • Insom-X
  • Invigorate
  • Lemon fX drops
  • Liquid ecstasy
  • Liquid E
  • Liquid X
  • Longevity
  • Natural sleep-500
  • Nature’s quaalude
  • Orange fX rush
  • Organic quaalude
  • Oxy-sleep
  • Poor man’s heroin
  • Remforce
  • Revivarant
  • Salty water
  • Scoop
  • Soap
  • Somatomax PM
  • Somsanit
  • Vita-G
  • Water
  • Wolfies
  • Zonked

Citations

  • Club Drugs: MDMA, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, and Ketamine by PM Gahlinger, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.( 06/01/04, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040601/2619.html)