First things first: what are club drugs? Also known as designer drugs, club drugs are a group of psychoactive substances that are popular in parties, bars, nightclubs, and concerts, but can also be found in other social settings like at music festivals. Most club drugs are illegal and can lead to serious illness, injury, and even death. Common examples of club drugs include GHB (liquid ecstasy), MDMA (ecstasy), Rohypnol (roofies), ketamine (Special K), LSD (acid), synthetic cannabinoids (spice), methamphetamines (crystal meth), and bath salts. Because these substances are so popular and their dangers so underrated, our PA drug rehab wanted to share what the effects of club drugs are.
What Do Club Drugs Do?
The side effects of club drugs can be unpredictable and vary depending on the drug in question. For instance, while Rohypnol or “roofies” cause severe sedation and even memory loss, crystal meth is a stimulant that elevates the user’s energy and mood. Additionally, because they’re made illegally in clandestine labs, club drugs also often contain various ingredients that can affect the brain and nervous system.
These additional ingredients or “cutting agents” can worsen or amplify the harmful effects of club drugs on the mind and body. Club drugs can have various effects on the body, ranging from depressing to stimulating changes. These effects depend on the drug class the substance belongs to and how they affect the central nervous system (CNS).
Substances like GHB, Rohypnol, Spice, and ketamine act as depressants on the CNS, while MDMA, LSD, crystal meth, and bath salts act as stimulants. Generally speaking, however, club drugs heighten sensory perceptions and reduce inhibitions. They may also elevate mood and empathy, which is why so many people take club drugs while partying or socializing.
Short and Long-Term Effects of Club Drugs
Everyone reacts differently to club drugs, and their side effects are often unpredictable. Especially considering that most of their ingredients are unknown to users, there’s no way to determine the “safest” doses to take.
When people take club drugs, they usually feel open, aroused, and unafraid. Depressant club drugs may produce sedation and inhibit the person’s judgment and reaction time. Drugs like Rohypnol and GHB are often used as date rape drugs because of their strong sedative effects.
Most club drugs also produce hallucinations and generally affect a person’s ability to think, feel, judge, and behave. They can make it difficult to differentiate reality from fantasy and can lead to gaps in memory or blackouts. Symptoms can vary depending on the person, ingredients in the drug, and the dose taken.
Short-Term Effects of Club Drugs
Club drugs usually kick in 10 to 20 minutes after they’re taken. Common short-term effects of club drugs include:
- Blurred vision
- Drug cravings
- Increased body temperature
- False sense of affection
- Impaired judgment
- Involuntary teeth clenching
- Muscle tension
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Severe anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Memory problems or gaps in memory (blackouts)
- Loss of muscle and motor control
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Heart or kidney failure
Long-Term Effects of Club Drugs
Not only because of the various additives and ingredients in these substances, but club drugs can also cause permanent damage because they negatively impact the brain’s chemical balance and natural production. The reason most club drugs are addictive is because of their impact on chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, and long-term abuse makes the brain more reliant on these substances to produce them.
With that said, long-term effects of club drugs include:
- Mental illness
- Impulsive behavior
- Heart disease
- Increased risk of overdose
- Impaired memory
- Liver and kidney issues
Club drug abuse can also lead to changes in behavior and isolation from loved ones. Those who develop drug addictions also often begin stealing and lying to their loved ones or turning to criminal activity to obtain more drugs. If your loved one begins showing signs of drug use, reach out to our Pennsylvania drug rehab to find out how our residential treatment program can help.
Get Help for Drug Addiction at Clearbrook
Whether you’ve experienced the harmful effects of club drugs first-hand or know someone who has, help is available. Clearbrook Treatment Centers offers substance-specific addiction treatment and detox in PA to address both the physical and psychological challenges of recovery. Recovery is just as much about the mental and emotional hold that drugs and alcohol have on the person as it is about the physical hold, which is why we incorporate various psychotherapy programs to ensure clients are getting the individual care they need.