Understanding Club Drugs Effects and Treatments

Editor’s Note: Please help us welcome brand new guest contributor, Ricky Stanton.  Stanton has over 10 years of experience helping people with their holistic drug rehab programs.  He hopes to continue to help educate others about the dangers of drug and alcohol addictions.

club drugs ecstasy mdma

Club drug use has increased among young people.

For decades, young people have attended all night dance parties – also known as raves or trances – to dance, spend time with friends and take mind-altering drugs. Often held in bars, clubs, hotels or even abandoned warehouses, these parties feature loud music, lights and any number of opportunities to engage in dangerous behavior.

Many of the people who take club drugs only do so when they attend these parties, but it is possible to get addicted to LSD, ketamine and especially methamphetamine.

Look at some of the most common club drugs and their effects:


MDMA, or Ecstasy, represents the most common club drug – by far. Similar to amphetamines, Ecstasy causes powerful hallucinations and psychedelic effects for four to eight hours after taking it. While most people recover completely after taking Ecstasy, some people have severe reactions that include depression, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, chills, coma and even death, especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs. Taken regularly, Ecstasy can cause permanent brain damage.


LSD, also known as acid, is similar to Ecstasy in that it causes powerful hallucinations and strange perceptions. The effects vary per person, but they generally begin within 30 minutes and last up to 12 hours. LSD can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, but the major effects of the drug occur in the brain. Overdosing on LSD can cause flashbacks, delusions of grandeur and psychotic episodes. A “bad trip” can cause terrifying visions, and with regular use, LSD can lead to recurring hallucinations and psychotic episodes.


Gamma Hydroxyl Butyrate (GHB) acts as a nervous system depressant. Also known as the “date rape drug”, GHB causes euphoria, sedation and, in some people, an increased libido. The drug works rapidly and usually lasts four to six hours. GHB causes lethargy and can lead to coma or even death. However, it leaves the system quickly, and it’s often undetectable when users or victims end up in the hospital.


Another common date rape drug, Rohypnol, also called roofies, is odorless, tasteless and easily dissolved in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. The sedative effects act quickly and last for up to12 hours. Rohypnol can cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, lethargy and temporary amnesia, and it can result in death when mixed with alcohol.


Ketamine, a horse tranquilizer, is a powerful sedative used in veterinary medicine. After taking the drug, which comes in liquid or powder form, users report hallucinations and dreamlike states, as well as increased heart rate and difficulty breathing. Taking ketamine can result in permanent memory loss, brain damage and death.


The stimulant drug methamphetamine (meth) is highly addictive. When ingested — by smoking, inhaling, pills or injection — meth causes an intense rush, feelings of euphoria, hyperactivity and delusions of grandeur combined with anxiety, irritability and panic. Meth can also cause confusion, paranoia, aggression and permanent heart and brain damage.

Treatment Options

GHB ketamine rohypnol club drugs

Only the right treatment can help stop club drug dependency.

While most club drugs are not addictive in the traditional sense, users can develop a tolerance to them and require more and more of the drugs to get high. Thus, it is possible to develop a dependence on these drugs, and for the most part, no standard treatments exist for club drug dependency.

For GHB and methamphetamine addiction, standard drug rehabilitation programs have proven effective. This generally includes a detoxification program combined with psychotherapy and medication to control withdrawal symptoms and heart rate.

Detoxification and behavior modification therapy have also proven effective for Ecstasy dependency. Detox from Ecstasy generally requires sedatives, and the therapy focuses on developing new skills to cope with life’s stresses.

For those who abuse Rohypnol, treatment generally requires controlled detoxification with 24-hour monitoring by medical professionals. Withdrawing from Rohypnol can cause life-threatening side effects, so rehabilitation professionals must handle the treatment carefully.

For ketamine abusers, treatment generally require the intervention team first treat the medical side effects of using the drug, thereby restoring cardiac and respiratory function. Once the user is healthy enough, treatment involves psychotherapy and behavior modification, giving users the skills they need to handle stress and prevent relapse.

Regardless of which club drug a person abused, ongoing support and therapy are imperative for the patient to continue to abstain from drugs. Drug abuse support groups remain important, and support from friends and family help the patient avoid returning to the club drug lifestyle.

Club drugs, especially, appeal to young people because the drugs don’t cost much and people can obtain them. However, they also pose a dangerous health risk with potentially addictive affects that can also cause permanent damage to users’ brains and bodies – and even death. Understanding what these drugs can do – and sharing that information – represents the first step in preventing a potentially tragic situation.

Your turn: Do you have experience with club drugs? Tell us about it below.

Images credit: csulb dot edu, colstrippolice dot com

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  1. #1 by drugsandotherthings on February 15, 2012 - 4:41 AM

    It is hard to take anything you say seriously after reading this.

    MDMA causes hallucinations? Really? While it’s cousin, MDA, is slightly more psychedelic- neither drug causes hallucinations. And there is little to no evidence that “prolonged use” leads to “brain damage”. Abuse may leads to issues with the serotonin system.
    Death from MDMA is very rare- and slightly more common with “ecstasy”- pills that in a majority of cases contain little to no MDMA, and may contain any compination of drugs including MDMA, MDA, amphetamine, methamphetamine, DXM, ketamine, cocaine, pierazines including tfmpp, bzb, and mcpp, 5-meo-mipt, 5-meo-dipt, or PMMA.
    The three greatest risks, made worse by abuse/taking too much, are poly drug use- including the mish-mash found in many ecstasy pills, overheating- often made worse by exertion and poorly ventilated venues, and drinking too much water- and essentially knocking your electrolyte/sodium levels to a dangerous imbalance.
    As to depression etc, often referred to as “Suicide tuesdays”, there is much anecdotal evidence suggesting this is most common in people with an underlying personal, or family history of depression.

    LSD- without a doubt one of the safest drugs ever created. Like any drug- it is not for everyone and It can cause issues for those with underlying mental issues. As to “flashbacks” etc, while very rare, people should research HPPD.

    GHB- I am sooo sick of the ridiculous “Date rape drug” label. Shall we call Alcohol the date rape drug- as it is hands down the champ. While GHB is a schedule I drug in the US, implying no medical use, try researching the prescription drug Zyrem…which is…GHB.

    Ketamine (what, your not going to use the date rape drug label with this one?). And you do realize it is a human anesthetic as well? And is used for depression, chronic pain, and treating addiction? You seem to not realize it’s a dissociative, and the main health problem with its abuse is bladder damage?

    Honestly- how can you be offering “treatment” when you seem to not even grasp the basics of these drugs?

    • #2 by Samantha Gluck on February 15, 2012 - 2:33 PM

      MDMA can cause hallucinations, but it doesn’t always cause them. MDMA in its purest form (before it became all the rage in the raves) probably did not cause hallucinations, but now you never know what you’re really getting when you purchase these drugs off the street and some may include bits of other drugs, etc. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t take drugs for recreational purposes. LSD, a psychoactive drug, can cause schizophrenic prodrome in teens or those in their early twenties. Granted, these people likely were predisposed to schizophrenia anyway, but it may never have manifested in them had they not indulged in LSD or other psychoactive drugs.

      Thank you for stopping by and offering your opinions to our readers, but I don’t think your commentary is backed up by any real science. You may enjoy taking these types of drugs on a recreational basis (or you may know people who do) and that’s your choice. No one is trying to stop you from doing this by publishing this informative article about club drugs. We review every guest submission thoroughly before publishing on Medtopicwriter (we have medical doctors at the ready to review and/or correct anything dubious) and this piece is no different. It was carefully reviewed for bias and accuracy.

      And yes, when my son was 3 years old, he was given ketamine in the emergency room to anesthetize his face while he received stitches. Many drugs have an important place in medicine, yet are abused and misused by people for recreational purposes. When used in this way, they become dangerous and can cause untimely death.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to share your opinions.

      Samantha Gluck

  2. #3 by Ricky Stanton on February 15, 2012 - 6:12 PM

    I wanted to address this as the contributor of this piece. First off, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on the post. I checked out your site, and though we stand on different sides of things, I can see you want to provide clear accurate information to your readers.

    While I am aware MDMA is not classified as a technical hallucinogen, I am well aware that it is in the psychoactive drug category of being a Empathogen-entactogen, which are well documented for having hallucination-oriented properties.

    Here are some links to real world cases of people describing hallucinations derived from MDMA:


    As for everything else, I appreciate you presenting a different look at these drugs, however it does not take away from the dangers of using them. Is what we said about LSD wrong? Do people not have bad trips and in some cases end up permanently scarred?

    This is not about being right or wrong, we presented the dangers of the drugs, and you chose to present the other side of things. Thanks again for reading.

  3. #4 by Tiffani Brendle on February 27, 2012 - 3:52 PM

    Thanks for the update on Understanding Club Drugs Effects and Treatments medtopicwriter – Tiffani Brendle