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Drug Abuse: Club Drugs

You may have heard a lot about "raves" and "clubs" that teenagers and college kids go to. Maybe you've even been to one yourself. In the 1990's, certain drugs became very popular in these environments, especially Ecstasy (MDMA), GHB, and Ketamine. Now, the use of these drugs has spread, and people who have never been to a nightclub or listened to techno music abuse these dangerous substances.

Topics on Drug Abuse:
Getting It Straight
Marijuana
Club Drugs
Inhalants
Methamphetamine
Hallucinogens
Cocaine and Crack
Heroin
Prescription Medications
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From the Mentors
Club Drugs Ecstasy (MDMA)
Also known as X, E, XTC, M, Roll, Adam, Bean

What it is:

The official name for Ecstasy is MDMA, which are the initials for the active chemical in this drug. Ecstasy is a synthetic (man-made) drug that has some of the properties of an amphetamine (like methamphetamine) and some properties of a hallucinogen (like LSD). It's usually a pill or tablet, often with a design or logo pressed into it.

People who take it usually experience:

  • Changes in mood and emotions
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Muscle tension
  • Teeth clenching
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid Eye Movement
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Faintness
  • Blurred vision

The big, serious health risks are:

  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Brain damage
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart failure
  • Psychological problems

Using Ecstasy is a problem because:

  • The stimulant effects of the drug, which give people the ability to dance for extended periods, combined with the hot, crowded conditions usually found at raves and club, can lead to dehydration, hyperthermia, and heart or kidney failure.

  • Ecstasy tablets are produced in all types of illegal and home labs, so there's no way of knowing exactly how much MDMA, or other dangerous substances, might be in a particular pill.

  • Because Ecstasy lowers your inhibitions, you could easily find yourself in a situation where someone can take advantage of you in some way.

GHB
Also known as G, liquid ecstasy, scoop, somatomax, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm

What it is:

GHB is a steroid that was once sold to people like bodybuilders who wanted to get muscles faster. It's a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it's supposed to make you feel more calm. It may be a white powder, clear liquid, or capsule. Users swallow the drug, which is often made in home drug labs.

People who take it usually experience:

  • Relaxation (in small doses only)

The big, serious health risks are:

  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

Using GHB is a problem because:

  • People who take liquid GHB can never be sure how strong or watered-down the drug is, so they don't know when they are taking a huge dose of the drug.

  • GHB can have dangerous effects when combined with alcohol or other drugs.

  • GHB can make you so "out of it" that you may be unaware of what's going on around you. If you are not in a situation with people you trust, it's an opportunity for someone to take advantage of you in some way.

  • GHB can have severe withdrawal effects (effects that start after you stop using the drug) like insomnia, anxiety, trembling, and sweating.

Rohypnol
Also known as roofies, rib, roach, R2, roofenol, rope, the forget pill

What it is:

Rohypnol, which is illegal in the United States, is a powerful prescription drug that's used to treat insomnia (when you can't sleep) in many countries. It's a small white tablet that has no smell or taste when dissolved in a drink. It can also be taken as a pill or snorted into the nose.

People who take it usually experience:

  • A sleepy, drunk-like feeling lasting 2 to 8 hours
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Blackouts
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Feelings of confusion
  • Nausea
  • Problems with moving and speaking

The big, serious health risks are:

  • Seizures from trying to stop taking the drug (also known as withdrawal)

Using Rohypnol is a problem because:

  • Like GHB, Rohypnol can make you unaware of what's going on around you. If you are not in a situation with people you trust, it's an opportunity for someone to take advantage of you in some way.

  • When mixed with alcohol or other drugs, Rohypnol can lead to death.

Ketamine
Also known as K, Ket, vitamin K, special K, kit kat, keller, Kelly's day, cat valium, super acid, super C

What it is:

Ketamine was developed in the 1970's to be used as medical anesthesia on humans and animals. If you take your dog or cat to the vet for surgery, chances are they'll use Ketamine so your pet sleeps through the operation. It's usually in the form of a tablet, white powder, or liquid. It can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana and smoked. The effects can last up to six hours, but it can be one to two days before the person using it returns to normal feelings.

People who use it may experience:

  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't there)
  • Colors and sounds being more intense
  • Changed perception (sights, sounds, feelings, and the way a person judges time are different)
  • Out-of-body, or "near death" experience
  • Numbness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Rigid muscles
  • A sense of being super-powerful or extra-strong
  • Blurred or blocked speech
  • Dulled sense of pain

The big, serious health risks are:

  • Vomiting, convulsions, and even death if used in large amounts.

Using Ketamine is a problem because:

  • Ketamine is so strong that someone might lose muscle control even before he or she is finished injecting it into their body.

  • Because Ketamine dulls pain, people can injure themselves without knowing it.

  • Using Ketamine can lead to "flashbacks," which is when a drug's effects come back suddenly, even a long time after using it.

  • Long-term use can lead to addiction.

  • People who use it a lot develop tolerance, meaning that they eventually need more and more of the drug to get the same effect.

  • The effects of long-term Ketamine use can take up to two years to completely wear off.

In the next section, we look at a group of drugs called Inhalants.

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