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the Club Drug Craze- learn how to spot users

CLUB DRUGS:

ECSTASY, GHB, KETAMINE, ROHYPNOL, POPPERS

Club drugs are drugs that have gained popularity and become ubiquitous in the club scene and at underground raves. With a variety of affects, these drugs stimulate the party and sensual experience of the users, allowing them to dance for all night long and into the morning. Easy to conceal and readily distributed, the user often takes the drug without knowing exactly what they are taking, creating a vast array of harmful and avoidable consequences. Motivated by the desire to party until the sun rises, people in the club scene have chosen the dangers of a wide variety of chemical intoxicants over their own safety.

There is no regulation in the ‘club drugs’ manufacture so they tend to be inconsistent in their exact contents. The uncertainties in their sources, chemicals, possible contaminants, and amount of toxicity make the usage of ‘club drugs’ extremely dangerous. In addition, they are often used in combination with alcohol or other drugs, increasing their potential lethality. Equally alarming, there have been numerous cases documented of ‘club drugs’ being used to facilitate sexual assault, particularly Rohypnol and GHB.

Rohypnol, sometimes called ‘roofies’ or ‘rophies’, often called the date drug or date rape drug, causes “Anterograde Amnesia”, an inability in those who have ingested it to remember events that have taken place while under its influence. This effect has been reportedly used to facilitate sexual assault. It is tasteless and colorless and easily dissolved in liquid. It is not approved for use in the United States, but is used elsewhere as a pre-surgery anesthetic and cure for insomnia. Rohypnol belongs to the class of drugs called Benzodiazepines.

Ecstasy (chemical name: MDMA) is an unpredictable energizing pleasure drug that often comes in tablets of different shapes, sizes and colors. Often cut with speed and other divergent chemicals, the effects of ecstasy can be unpredictable. Before it became illegal, it was produced by pharmaceutical companies and the effects were relatively dependable. When it hits about an hour after ingestion, the drug brings waves of pleasure onto the user, releasing inhibitions and discarding emotional limits. Upon crashing from the high, users feel as though their brains had been barbecued, spending the following day wrecked in bed. Upon realizing what was said and done, the user often regrets their actions, surprised that a drug could devastate personal boundaries with such ease. The comedown leaves the user tired and depressed. The true danger lies in damage to the brain as research has shown that MDMA dramatically affects the neural chemistry of monkeys. For a blast of deluded pleasure, the user pays for the experience with a lifetime of brain damage.

GHB is short for the chemical compound gammahydroxybutyrate. Often used by predators as a date rape drug, GHB comes as a colorless liquid. Measured out in capfuls, the salty-tasting liquid is swallowed. Originally developed as a medicine for use during surgery, GHB is also used as an alternative to anabolic steroids. The intoxicating effects of GHB usually last a few hours, but remain unpredictable and have been known to continue for an entire day. This mysterious duration is particularly true in relation to the negative effects. With sedative properties, GHB produces a feeling of euphoric dizziness. Easy to consume and hard to control, overdoses of GHB can produce coma and even death. These dire consequences are often the result of mixing GHB with alcohol or other drugs, increasing the levels of intoxication and danger. On account of its harmless appearance, GHB often can be taken by accident or slipped into a drink, leading directly to extreme negative consequences. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of GHB is that the long-term effects of the drug are not fully known, but could include the same damage done by anabolic steroids.

Like the horse tranquilizer PCP (also known as Angel Dust), ketamine is a disassociative anesthetic with painkilling and psychedelic properties. Used by veterinarians when they operate on dogs and cats, ketamine comes as tablets or as a powder which is snorted up the nose. A prescription-only medicine, ketamine is known in the club scene as Captain K or Special K. When used, ketamine provides an otherworldly experience where you became both puppet and puppet master. Disassociated from the body, the user has the experience of being speeded up while feeling perfectly calm at the same time. Sometimes a user may become physically unable to move, known in drug slang as falling down the K-Hole. As ketamine numbs the body, the user risks having an injury without feeling the resulting pain. If the dose is unexpected, the effects can be quite alarming, creating a bad trip-like experience. Although not physically addictive, ketamine effects amplify as the amount increases. Excessive doses can cause respiratory problems and heart failure while users have convulsed and gone into a coma. Like GHB, ketamine is very dangerous when mixed with other drugs or alcohol, and the resulting effects are difficult to predict. The long-term effects of ketamine remain unknown, although serious mental problems have been seen to occur and worsen through periods of extended using.

Popular for decades in dance culture, poppers is a term for the group of chemicals known as alkyl nitrites, including amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite. They come as a clear or straw-colored liquid in a bottle or tube which is breathed in as a vapor through the mouth or nose. Trade names of over-the-counter versions include Ram, Thrust, Rock Hard, TNT and Liquid Gold. As opposed to the other versions, Amyl Nitrite is a prescription-only medicine. When we tried poppers, the head-rush was extreme and intense, but very brief. This rush is caused by blood vessels enlarging and dilating as the user’s face and neck becomes flushed. The effects completely fade 2 to 5 minutes after use, leaving us with a bad headache afterwards. Regular use causes skin problems around the mouth and nose, and if spilled, poppers burn the skin. Poppers are usually fatal if swallowed, and they have been mistaken for other drugs such as GHB in the club scene, leading to catastrophic results. Although not physically addictive, their continued use easily becomes habitual, sometimes resulting in long-term neural and psychological damage. Like all club drugs, the price the user might have to pay for using poppers is not worth the divergent effects produced by the drug. For thousand of years, human beings have partied all night long without the aid of such extreme intoxicants.