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What are Club Drugs?

When you go to a club, rave, party, or festival, you will probably see tons of people under the influence of various drugs. It is common for individuals to abuse specific types of substances when they are in a club environment which has caused certain drugs to be classified as “club drugs.” 

The most common club drugs include MDMA, ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol, and acid. These substances all provide different effects, with many of them containing depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic properties. Oftentimes, people who abuse club drugs assume they are not addictive, however, these substances can be extremely habit-forming when abused frequently.

If you or a loved one attend raves or nightclubs regularly, being aware of the common club drugs and the dangers associated with abusing them can prevent you from developing an addiction. 

Common Types of Club Drugs

According to NYC Health, “Club drugs are a group of drugs most often used by teens and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties to heighten sensory perceptions and reduce inhibitions.”[1] 

Club drugs are a group of substances that get their name because they are used most frequently by individuals who are attempting to heighten their experience at nightclubs or raves. While these drugs can provide people with increased energy, distortions of perception, and heightened self-esteem, they can also be incredibly dangerous. 

Some of the most popular club drugs include:

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy is a slang term for the substance MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine). This substance might also be referred to as molly, XTC, or beans. Ecstasy is the most popular club drug, causing a mixture of stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that MDMA “has also been described as an entactogen—a drug that can increase self-awareness and empathy.”[2]

While ecstasy can provide people with effects that would increase their experience at a nightclub, abusing this drug can become dangerous. The possible side effects of consuming MDMA include:[3]

  • Hyperthermia (abnormally increased body temperature)
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Impulsiveness
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Teeth grinding
  • Muscle cramps
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Seizures 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Kidney and heart failure 


Ketamine is a substance most commonly used by veterinary doctors for the sedation of larger animals. However, when people abuse ketamine they may experience hallucinogenic and dissociative effects. Because ketamine can cause visual distortions and a detachment from reality, it has become popular among individuals who attend clubs, raves, and music festivals. 

The common effects of ketamine abuse include:

  • Disorientation
  • Respiratory distress
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Psychotic episodes and hallucinations
  • Slowed movement
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Numbness
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment and motor function
  • Distorted perceptions of sight and sound

The DEA also reports that long-term use of ketamine can result in Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), which causes individuals to experience the hallucinogenic effects of ketamine even while they are sober.[4]

With that being said, ketamine is not a safe substance to abuse. In addition to long-term health conditions like HPPD, you could experience a fatal overdose from taking too much of this drug. If you or a loved one regularly abuses ketamine, consider attending a drug rehab program. 

Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB)

Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is categorized as a depressant drug, however, low doses can produce stimulant effects. Similar to MDMA, this substance can produce a rush of euphoria while increasing sociability. When taken at high doses, individuals may feel drowsy, and uninhibited, and experience visual or auditory disturbances.

Because of its sedative effects at high doses, GHB has been coined as the “date rape drug.” Unfortunately, there have been many reports of people slipping GHB into other individuals’ drinks, causing them to forget what happened the night before.

It is important to note that GHB can result in life-threatening overdoses. The symptoms of a GHB overdose include:[5]

  • Slow or irregular breathing/heart rate
  • Weak pulse
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Bluish skin, lips, and/or fingernails (cyanosis)
  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)

Rohypnol is another club drug that is associated with sexual assault. Like GHB, this substance can render someone unable to resist sexual advances or remember what has happened the next day. 

Technically, flunitrazepam is a benzodiazepine, which is a class of anti-anxiety medications. However, it is important to note that Rohypnol is much stronger than other benzodiazepines like Valium or Xanax. When abused, this substance can cause effects similar to alcohol and at high dosages, unconsciousness or partial amnesia.

Acid (LSD)

Acid (LSD) is a synthetic drug made from a fungus that infects grains like rye. This substance can cause potent psychedelic effects, making it a popular choice for individuals who attend nightclubs, raves, and music festivals.

Common effects of LSD include:[6]

  • Auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations
  • Intensified senses
  • Distorted sense of time and space
  • Strange feelings in the body, like floating
  • Rapidly changing or intense emotions
  • Altered states of thinking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Muscles twitching
  • Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Being flushed, sweating, or having chills

While acid is not thought to be addictive, some people routinely abuse this drug because they believe it is providing them with a spiritual experience. Unfortunately, long-term abuse of this substance can lead to significant mental health effects, including psychosis. 

Find Help for Club Drug Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one abuse one of the common club drugs (LSD, ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol, or MDMA), professional drug rehab can provide you with the support and tools you need to recover. The long-term abuse of club drugs can lead to addiction, increased mental health issues, and fatal overdoses, but receiving addiction treatment can save your life.

To learn more about our addiction treatment program in South Florida, contact Mandala Healing Center today.