Guide to Club Drugs

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Often found in bars, nightclubs, dance clubs, and raves, club drugs are a class of drugs that have been increasing in use and abuse. The most common types of drugs in the club drug group include the following:

  • GHB
  • Ketamine (also known as Special K)
  • MDMA (also known as molly, ecstasy or “E”)
  • Methamphetamine (also known as crank, ice, speed)
  • Cocaine (also known as coke, blow, powder)
  • Rohypnol (also known as roofies)

Each type of drug can have a different effect on its user. For example, both GHB and Rohypnol have sedating properties and can be easily slipped into drinks. MDMA has both sedating and hallucinogenic properties and drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine have stimulant properties. Using any drug on a regular basis can create unmanageability in the life of the user, at which point it would be time to consider attending treatment at a facility.

Club Drug Statistics

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The use of club drugs in recreational settings have slowly and steadily been on the rise. In a report provided by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the following statistics were reported:

  • There were approximately 5.1 million drug-related emergency room visits
    • Of those visits, 102,961 were related to methamphetamine
    • 22,498 involved MDMA
    • 2,406 involved GHB
    • 1,550 involved ketamine

Several of these drugs—like ketamine and GHB—were developed and used for legitimate medical purposes. For example, ketamine is an anesthetic used in veterinary settings and GHB was approved for the treatment of narcolepsy. When these drugs are used for legitimate medical purposes there should be close monitoring by experienced medical professionals. Unfortunately, these drugs are often used for recreational purposes, with no concern for dosage or quality.

Are Club Drugs Addictive?


As the effects of the various club drugs differ, as does the potential for addiction. Drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine are highly addictive—even after the first use of the drug. Both of these drugs have the potential to be extremely dangerous, especially if they are used in conjunction with other drugs. If an individual tries to withdraw “cold turkey,” or suddenly from cocaine or meth, there may be serious complications. On the other hand, drugs such as MDMA are not thought of as being addictive in the physical or bodily sense. However, it should be noted that drugs like MDMA can often take on a great importance in people’s lives, thus, becoming addictive in a psychological or ritual sense. The belief that drugs like MDMA are non-addictive stem from the fact that some club drugs do not cause the physical withdrawal symptoms seen with, for instance, alcohol or heroin. Nevertheless, prolonged use of these drugs can significantly alter brain chemistry.

What are the Consequences of Club Drug Use?

As stated earlier, club drugs are often used and abused in conjunction with other drugs. Polydrug abuse is extremely dangerous, given the degrees of purity seen in club drugs on the street level; medical complications can occur. Since these drugs are typically used in social settings, such as clubs, bars, and parties, it is common that sexual activity and club drug use go hand in hand. Unfortunately, safe sex is often not a priority and there is an increased risk of STD’s and rape.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to club drugs and is in need of treatment, choose the Palm Beach Institute for help, today. Give our addiction specialists a call at 855-534-3574 today or contact us online for a free consultation and assessment.

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