Club Drugs

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Club drugs are illegal drugs which have dangerous side effects and place the user in a compromised position where he/she may not be able to look after him/herself. Addictions treatment in a drug rehab center in South Africa is a good way to stop the abuse of these drugs.

One commonly known club drug is MDMA, which is often called ecstasy or Molly. Originally developed as a therapeutic medication, MDMA gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s due to its ability to induce feelings of empathy, heightened sensory perception, and increased energy. However, the recreational use of MDMA can have negative consequences, including dehydration, increased body temperature, and potential long-term effects on mood and memory.

The “club” drugs are those which are associated with all-night dance parties held at clubs or outside venues. These parties typically feature trance or house music accompanied by light displays and involve energetic dancing for long periods of time. They are a relatively new phenomenon and the use of club drugs has increased since these parties began. They are addictive and dangerous drugs that lead people to need drug rehab to stop using them.

The most commonly abused club drugs are MDMA (“ecstasy”), GHB (“liquid ecstasy”), Rohypnol, Ketamine, methamphetamine (“speed” or “tik”), and LSD (“acid”). They are chosen for their intoxicating effects and are readily available in many clubs.

They are mostly undetectable when added to drinks and so are sometimes used surreptitiously in an effort to intoxicate somebody. Rohypnol was commonly associated with date rape for some time because of its ability to sedate people without being detected. The manufacturers have since added a dye to the tablet so that if it is added to a drink it will be noticeable. The date rape drugs cause a form of amnesia where the person is unable to remember what happened while intoxicated. They also lower inhibitions and the ability to think clearly. A person who is intoxicated on one of these drugs is a potential target for date rape.

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The club drugs are often produced in “kitchen laboratories” under less than ideal circumstances. This makes them prone to contamination arising from the manufacturing process. Drug dealers commonly “cut” the drug by deliberately including cheaper ingredients into the mix. By bulking up the final product with cheap ingredients the dealer stands to make a bigger profit. It is therefore very difficult to tell exactly what is in the tablet being offered.

MDMA (ecstasy)

Ecstasy is the most commonly abused club drug. It was originally developed and marketed as a legitimate medication to reduce appetite but was never approved for use. The effect of ecstasy is much like the amphetamine class of drugs: stimulation, psychedelic effects, hallucinations, and perceptual distortions. It is usually taken as a pill which will last for about 6 hours. Some people have an immediate negative reaction to ecstasy that can result in depression, anxiety, and insomnia. These symptoms can take a few days to several weeks to dissipate. MDMA can cause death when combined with alcohol or other drugs. It can also raise the body temperature which can be fatal unless treated. Staying awake and dancing for extended periods of time can lead to dehydration and kidney failure. Using MDMA for a long period of time damages the serotoninergic neurons in the brain causing permanent damages.

Gamma hydroxy butyrate (GHB)

Another popular club drug is gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known as GHB or liquid ecstasy. Initially used in clinical settings, GHB has gained notoriety as a powerful sedative and euphoric agent when consumed recreationally. Its misuse has been associated with severe intoxication, loss of consciousness, and even cases of sexual assault due to its ability to impair judgment and memory.

This chemical is a strong sedative and is one of the “date rape” drugs. It is made available in forms that are easily dissolved in alcohol or other beverages. GHB produces sedative effects that last for 4-6 hours after it is swallowed. Overdose can result in coma, breathing problems, or death. Mixing it with alcohol increases the chance of overdose.


Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a sedative belonging to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Rohypnol is well known in clubs for its ability to cause amnesia. If a drink is spiked with Rohypnol the target will become intoxicated and not be able to remember what happened afterwards. Because of its popularity as a date rape drug, the manufacturer added a dye to it in order to make it more detectable when added to a drink. Rohypnol will produce drowsiness for up to 12 hours when ingested. If it is combined with alcohol its effects are much more profound and overdose is not uncommon.


Methamphetamine (speed or tik) stimulates the brain creating a wide variety of symptoms. Some of these symptoms such as feeling energized are desirable to the people who abuse the drug, but most of the symptoms are unpleasant: irritability, paranoia, and anxiety are all common. Methamphetamine is manufactured in “kitchen laboratories” and is often very impure. This makes it even more dangerous for people to use this drug. It can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked. The speed of onset and intensity of effect depend on which method is used to take the drug. One side effect of methamphetamine use is an addiction. It is known to cause irreversible damage to internal organs.


Ketamine is another substance commonly encountered in the club scene. Despite being a dissociative anesthetic used in veterinary medicine and limited human surgeries, ketamine is abused for its hallucinogenic properties and the dissociative experiences it can induce. Prolonged use can lead to cognitive impairment and bladder problems.

Ketamine has a legitimate use as an anaesthetic, especially in animal medicine. When abused in clubs it causes dissociative amnesia, hallucinations, and dream-like states. Death can occur as a result of using this drug. Chronic use leads to brain damage and cognitive deficits related to this. Ketamine is sold in either powdered or liquid form. In powdered form, its appearance is similar to that of pharmaceutical-grade cocaine and can be insufflated (referred to as a “Special K”, “Kit-Kat”, “K”, or “Horse Tranquilizer”), injected, or placed in beverages. It is also possible to smoke the drug in a joint or pipe, usually mixed with marijuana and tobacco. The smoke has a distinctive bitter taste but the effects of the high hit much faster than when insufflated, ingested or injected intramuscularly. Oral use usually requires more material but results in a longer trip.

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)

LSD (acid) was first manufactured by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann. In pure form, it is colourless, odourless, and mildly bitter. LSD is typically delivered orally, usually on a substrate such as absorbent blotter paper, a sugar cube, or gelatin. In its liquid form, it can be administered by intramuscular or intravenous injection. The threshold dosage level needed to cause a psychoactive effect on humans is of the order of 20 to 30 µg (micrograms). LSD’s psychological effects (colloquially called a “trip”) vary greatly from person to person, depending on factors such as previous experiences, state of mind and environment, as well as dose strength. They also vary from one trip to another, and even as time passes during a single trip. An LSD trip can have long term psychoemotional effects; some users cite the LSD experience as causing significant changes in their personality and life perspective. (The LSD molecule is pictured here)

Substances, such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and synthetic cathinones (commonly referred to as “bath salts”), are also prevalent in club environments. LSD is a potent hallucinogen associated with perceptual distortions, intense emotions, and altered consciousness. Synthetic cathinones, on the other hand, are powerful stimulants that can produce a combination of effects similar to amphetamines and hallucinogens.

Understanding the dangers associated with club drugs is crucial, as their use can lead to addiction and severe health consequences. Many addiction treatment centers cater to individuals struggling with club drug addiction, offering specialized programs designed to address the unique challenges associated with these substances. Through a combination of detoxification, counselling, and support, rehab facilities aim to help individuals regain control over their lives and overcome addiction.

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