"Club Drugs"

Alcohol and tobacco are still the most commonly used drugs in nightclub settings. However, other drugs or "Club Drugs" use have increase over the past two years. These include drugs of Ecstasy (MDA, MDMA), Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), Gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB), Ketamine, and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). These drugs are not only popular in parties, nightclubs, events, etc. among various types of people including teenagers, college students, and others but also these drugs have seen its use as a "date rape" drug. The following are description on some of the most common "Club Drugs" that are consumed in high quantities today.  SERUM AND URINE ONLY SPECIMENS


Ecstasy or MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a stimulant that combines the properties of methamphetamine or "speed" with mind-altering or hallucinogenic properties. Considered the most commonly used designer drug, Ecstasy is a close derivative of methamphetamine and can be described as a hallucinogenic stimulant. Designer drugs are illicit variations of other drugs. Because of many different recipes used to manufacture Ecstasy, deaths have been caused by some other substances inadvertently created during production, such as PMA (paramethamphetamine). Ecstasy is illegal, and is classified as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. Known on the street as Adam, X-TC, Clarity, Essence, Stacy, Loverís Speed, Eve, etc., Ecstasy is most often found in tablet, capsule, or powder form and is usually consumed orally, although it can also be injected. Ecstasy is sometimes packaged in capsules or generic tablets to imitate prescription drugs with the average dose costing anywhere from $7 to $30 per pill. Ecstasy can be combined with methadone, LSD, opiates such as heroin or Fentanyl, or strong anesthetics such as Ketamine.


An Ecstasy high can last from six to 24 hours, with the average "trip" lasting only about three to four hours. At moderate doses, Ecstasy is reported to cause euphoria, feelings of well-being, enhanced mental or emotional clarity, anxiety, or paranoia. Heavier doses can cause hallucinations, sensations of lightness and floating, depression, paranoid thinking, and violent, irrational behavior.

Physical reactions can include the following symptoms: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, increased heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension, faintness, chills, sweating, tremors, reduced appetite, insomnia, convulsions, and a loss of control over voluntary body movements. Some reactions have been reported to persist from one to 14 days after taking Ecstasy. Individuals who are pregnant, have a heart condition, are epileptic, or have high blood pressure are at high risk of adverse reactions. In addition, users are at particular risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration with physical exertion, particularly when Ecstasy is taken in a dance-party setting. Deaths have occurred because users donít drink enough water and become overheated.

The Safeness of Herbal Ecstasy as a natural alternative?

No. Although not currently classified as a controlled substance, Herbal Ecstasy is a drug composed of ephedrine (ma huang) or pseudoephedri ne and caffeine (kola nut), stimulants that closely simulate the effects of Ecstasy. Sold in tablet form, Herbal Ecstasy is known as Cloud 9, Herbal Bliss, Ritual Spirit, Herbal X, GWM, Rave Energy, Ultimate Xphoria, and X.

There is no quality control over the manufacture of these products, and problems arise because the amounts of ephedrine and caffeine in the pills vary widely. Over 800 reports of adverse reactions such as high blood pressure, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and death have been reported to federal authorities. Because of these reactions, the Food and Drug Adminis-tration (FDA) is considering placing restrictions on the drug.

Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam)

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a strong sedative which is manufactured and distributed by Hoffman-La Roche. A member of the benzodiazepine family which includes drugs such as Librium, Xanax, and Valium, Rohypnol is about ten times the strength of Valium. Typically, Rohypnol is smuggled into Texas from the Mexican pharmacias; supplies in Florida come from Latin America. Street prices in Texas range from $1 to $5 per pill. Slang terms for Rohypnol include Roach, Roche (ro-shay), Roofies, Run-Trip-and-Fall, R-2, Mexican Valium, Ropynol, Rib, and Rope. In Texas, to be under the influence of Rohypnol is "to get roached."

Uses of Rohypnol

Rohypnol is manufactured as small, white tablets with "Roche" inscribed on one side with an encircled "1" or "2" indicating a 1 mg or 2 mg dose. These tablet markings are commonly found on other Roche pharmaceuticals, and a pattern of abusing any drug made by Roche (Valium, Klonopin/Clonopin, Rivotril) has also developed. Rohypnol is usually taken orally, although there are reports that it has been ground up and snorted. Rohypnol is illegal in the United States, and it can draw significant penalties for the possession and sale of the drug.

Effects of Rohypnol

After taking Rohypnol, the user may feel intoxicated, then sleepy - a feeling that may last up to eight hours. Users under the influence may exhibit slurred speech, impaired judgment, and difficulty walking. Rohypnol can cause deep sedation, respiratory distress, blackouts that can last up to 24 hours, and amnesia where users forget events experienced while under the influence. In some cases, the drug has paradoxical effects and causes users to become aggressive. The potential for overdose or death can occur, especially when mixed with other drugs like alcohol.

Gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB)

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) was once sold in health food stores as a performance enhancing additive to body builder formulas. Although rumored that GHB stimulates muscle growth, this claim has never been proven. GHB is a central nervous system depressant that is abused for its intoxicating effects. In 1990, the FDA banned the used of GHB except under the supervision of a physician because of many reports of severe, uncontrollable side effects.

Slang terms for GHB include Grievous Bodily Harm, Easy Lay, Gook, Gamma 10, Liquid X, Liquid E, Liquid G, Georgia Home Boy, Soap, Scoop, Salty Water, Somatomax, G-riffick, Cherry Meth, Fantasy, Organic Quaalude, Natureís Quaalude, and Zonked.


GHB is consumed orally in capsule form or as a grainy, white to sandy-colored powder. Powdered GHB is often dissolved in liquids like water or alcoholic beverages and then consumed. However, it is most frequently sold as a slightly salty, clear liquid in small bottles where users pay by the capful or by the teaspoon. Most GHB is created in clandestine laboratories where purity and quality cannot be guaranteed. Often substituted for Ecstasy, another club drug, a capful may cost the user $3 to $5 per dose. GHB is also used as a sedative to come down off stimulants like ephedrine, Ecstasy, speed, or cocaine.


GHB produces intoxication followed by deep sedation. Once ingested, the drug will begin to take effect in 15 minutes to an hour, lasting one to three hours. GHB can cause nausea, vomiting, delusions, depression, vertigo, visual disturbances, seizures, respiratory distress, loss of consciousness, amnesia, and coma. When combined with alcohol and other drugs, the potential for deadly overdoses escalates rapidly. Numerous overdoses in Texas and nationwide have required emergency room treatment and mechanical assistance to breathe.

Ketamine (Special K)

Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride) is primarily used in veterinary medicine, and its use as a surgical anesthetic in humans is limited. Most supplies found on the street are diverted from legitimate sources. On the club scene, Ketamine can be found in liquid form or as a white powder that is snorted or smoked with marijuana or tobacco products. A combination of Ketamine and cocaine is called "CK." Other slang terms are Special K, Vitamin K, New Ecstasy, Psychedelic Heroin, Ketalar, Ketaject, and Super-K.


Users experience profound hallucinations and visual distortions similar to the effects of PCP. They call these effects "K-Land." A larger dose can produce a more frightening experience called a "K-hole" or an "out-of-body, near-death experience." They may also experience a loss of senses, sense of time, and identity which can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, recurrent flashbacks, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a potent hallucinogen derived from lysergic acid. Lysergic acid can be found on ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. Commonly referred to as "acid" on the club scene, a "hit" or dose can be found as tablets, capsules, liquid form, thin squares of gelatin, or absorbed on colorful paper to be licked. Although colorless and odorless, LSD has a slight bitter taste. "Blotter acid," which is absorbent paper soaked in LSD and sold as squares, can be obtained for $4 to $5 for a "high" or "trip" that lasts three to 12 hours. Other slang terms for LSD include Microdot, White Lightning, Blue Heaven, Windowpane, and Sugar Cubes. LSD is a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance with severe penalties for possession and use.


The effects of LSD are wildly unpredictable depending on a variety of factors. The user will begin to feel the effects within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion and the "high" may last up to 12 hours. Users under the influence will have dilated pupils, increased body temperature, increased heart and blood pressure rates, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, tremors, and increased perspiration. A "bad trip" could include terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death, and flashbacks after the fact. Moreover, LSD may reveal long lasting psychological problems, including schizophrenia and severe depression. Chronic users can develop a tolerance to LSD, meaning they must take more of the drug to feel the same effects.

How are people usually introduced to Club Drugs?

Many young people are introduced to club drugs on the night club or rave scene by their peers. People often try drugs like Ecstasy, Herbal Ecstasy, Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, and LSD because their friends are using them, and they think that drugs are safe to use.

Are adolescents and young adults at risk?

One major concern about these club drugs is their widespread use among high school youths, college students, and young adults who frequent night clubs and all-night rave parties. Lured by the availability and intoxicating effects of these drugs, many youths are unaware of the dangers. Rohypnol and GHB, in particular, can cause blackouts and amnesia which place individuals under the influence at risk of sexual assault or other criminal acts. In addition, when young people start using drugs regularly, they often lose interest in school work, which affects academic success as well. Chronic drug use can place students and young adults at risk of dropping out of school or college, loss of employment, and possible encounters with law enforcement.

Club Drugs Continued NEXT





Copyright © 1999 [Toxicology Associates, Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 13, 2010