According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, club drugs are now most commonly ingested through raves, all-night dance parties for teens and young adults. While the heaviest exposure may be in those venues of entertainment, club drugs are also frequently used in nightclubs, bars and outside of public realm, even by career-driven adults. Unfortunately, acceptance of some illicit substances in the club drug family is becoming more mainstream, even into plot lines of major motion pictures, such as The Hangover.
Within the club drug genre are six primary and well known substances. Those are:
- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
- Gamma-hydoxybutyrate (GHB)
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
These are all often distributed in social settings and crowded party environments, but use is not limited to the party scene.
A hallucinogen, Ecstasy is taken in tablet or capsule form. It is particularly popular in club and dance settings, as its effects enable the user to dance for extended periods of time without feeling exhaustion. Ecstasy’s high is experienced for between three and six hours, during which time the user may experience dehydration, increased body temperature, hypertension, heart failure, kidney failure and even death. If used for long periods of time, the user will likely suffer confusion, depression, memory loss, anxiety, paranoia and sleeplessness.
A very public trial of Jeffrey Marsalis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania reported over two dozen instances of sexual assault wherein GHB or a similar sedative was said to have been placed by Marsalis in victims’ cocktails. Called the “most prolific serial rapist in American history,” Marsalis was acquitted on all but one of the charges. Pennsylvania cases failed to find him guilty because there were no toxicology tests conducted on victims, but a singular case in Idaho resulted in a life prison sentence.
At least one of the street names of GHB ironically portray the negative nature of the substance: “Greivous Bodily Harm,” “G,” “Liquid Ecstasy” and “Georgia Home Boy.” The rapidity of its effects makes GHB particularly dangerous. As a sedative, it is highly powerful and exacts unconsciousness or physical and verbal submission within mere minutes of ingestion. When combined with alcohol, GHB is particularly dangerous and its power intensifies. GHB is also sometimes used for its growth hormone-inducing effects, by those wishing to build a muscular physique or even enhance sexual performance.
Effects last up to four hours, including slowing of breathing and heart rates to even deadly paces. Overdose can occur very quickly. Common signs of GHB overdose are: nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of consciousness, drowsiness, impaired reflexes, impaired breathing, and ultimately death.
Other side effects are memory loss, aggressive and violent behavior, psychosis, and cardiac and neurological damage. Known for their characteristic “tweaking” behaviors, as they are called, Meth abusers exhibit agitation, excitability, rapid and compulsive speech, diminished appetite and increased physical activity. They are also known to develop many sores throughout their body, compulsively picking at the scabs as one of the earmark behaviors. Higher transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and other infections are seen among Meth users, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)