For young adults that party at clubs, using club drugs poses immediate risks and can become a gateway to long-term substance use. Up to 70% of club-going young adults report lifetime drug use, and 22% disclose recent club drug use.1 While it might be tempting for young adults and teenagers to experiment with illicit substances while going out, there can be severe consequences to one’s physical, mental, and emotional health after just one use.
If you are a club-goer or are the parent of one, it is vital to learn more about club drugs and why they are dangerous to keep everyone as safe as possible.
What Are Club Drugs?
As the name suggests, “club drugs” are commonly used by young adults and teenagers at bars, nightclubs, music festivals, raves, and other events associated with partying and drinking. Many individuals take these drugs to evoke feelings of closeness to others, open-mindedness, excitement, and psychoactive symptoms.
Furthermore, most of these substances are cheap to purchase, synthetically made, and consumed orally through pills, powder, or in a drink. While any drug consumed at these events could be considered a club drug, the most common ones classified in this category include:
- Ecstasy or MDMA
4 Common Risks Associated With Club Drugs
The dangers associated with club drugs outweigh any fleeting positive short-term effects. Here are four common dangerous effects of club drugs that need to be addressed:
#1: Very Dangerous Mixed With Other Substances
Many individuals choose to mix club drugs with alcohol for an extra buzz. While many club drugs can lead users to overdose by themselves, these substances become even more dangerous when paired with alcohol. Many club drugs are also laced with added harmful chemicals and substances the user isn’t aware of, contributing to more adverse side effects and risk of overdose.
#2: Short-Term and Long-term Negative Health Impact
Club drugs can negatively impact the user’s health in more ways than. While experiencing the drug’s effects and after it is out of the system, uncomfortable and dangerous side effects include:
- Memory issues
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Increased temperature or blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart complications
- Kidney and liver damage
- Anxiety or paranoia
- Vomiting and nausea
- In some cases, overdose, coma, and even death
Using club drugs over time with repeated exposure can lead users to struggle with various physical and psychological issues. For example, in MDMA specifically, studies found adverse effects on the brain’s production of the neurotransmitter serotonin in humans regularly using the substance.2 Since serotonin is associated with happiness and a stable mood, persistently low quantities can lead to severe psychological distress. There are, unfortunately, many hidden dangers of MDMA or “Molly” as it is called.
#3: Increased Risk Of Sexual Assault
Club drugs such as Rohypnol, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, and ketamine are also often classified as date-rape drugs because they cause users to become unconscious, weak, or confused, increasing their risk of sexual assault. Because these drugs are completely tasteless, odorless, and colorless, it makes it easy for victims to consume them if they unintentionally slipped into their drink.
In addition to avoiding these drugs, here are a few ways to prevent unknowingly getting into a dangerous situation:
- Never drinking from a cup unattended
- Only drinking from sealed bottles or cans
- Never accepting beverages or drugs from strangers
- Always staying with trusted friends
#4: Dependence on Club Drugs
After partaking in club drugs, some people find themselves addicted or dependent on the substance. In fact, in one study with club-goers aged 18 to 29, almost 60% of participants met or exceeded the criteria of a club drug dependence.3 Any substance use addiction, including club drugs, can severely impact a user’s day-to-day functioning, social relationships, health, and overall well-being.
Drug Treatment Is Available At Ocean Hills Recovery
If you struggle with addiction to club drugs or other substances, Ocean Hills Recovery has a program for you. With comprehensive alcohol, drug, and detox programs available, we help patients of all backgrounds start on their journey towards recovery and long-term sobriety.
Contact our compassionate team today for more information on how we can help you take back your life.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.