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Club drugs are often take at raves. “Raves” are large dance parties
which are held in unusual settings like warehouses or railroad yards. The run
all night and feature computer generated, high volume, pulsating music known
as “techno” or “house” music. Rave clubs got their
start in England during the late 1980’s and are known for the music and
use of drugs like Ecstasy.
Rave club goers are known as “Ravers”. Not all “Ravers” consume
club drugs. The club scene seems to be attracting adolescents from ages 13
to young adults in their mid-to-late 20’s. Party announcements can be
found posted on colorful fliers, through word of mouth, and even on the Internet.
The phenomenon known as the “Rave Movement” has been compared to
the “Peace & Love Movement” of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Partygoers can often be found with surgical facemasks (used to inhale various
club drugs), baby pacifiers (used to control the teeth grinding that goes along
with Ecstasy use), and glow sticks (used to heighten the “high” from
What club drugs are being used on the Rave dance scene? There are a variety
of drugs that have been connected with Rave Clubs. This is a brief list of
some of the club drugs by slang names and a list of their possible effects:
Ecstasy – Hallucinogen/Stimulant - Ecstasy is a synthetic drug that
is similar to methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. Ecstasy can produce
a significant increase in heart rate and blood pressure. It also causes a sense
of alertness. The stimulant effects, which enable users to dance for extended
periods, may also lead to dehydration, hypertension, and heart or kidney failure.
Ecstasy can cause brain damage. Despite the risks to the user, Ecstasy is one
of the most widely used of the club drugs.
Ephedrine – Stimulant - This substance is sold over-the-counter at convenience
stores, some food stores, and through mail order. It is often sold as ‘Herbal
Ecstasy’ and is touted as a ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ form
of Ecstasy. Ephedrine is in the Amphetamine family and can cause heart attacks,
seizures, agitation, palpitations, and other health problems. Ephedrine is
a common weight-loss substance. The FDA has proposed restrictions on ephedrine
after it received more than 800 reports of harmful effects to people. Among
the reports were coronary problems that could put patients at risk for heart
attacks, strokes, and death.
Ketamine – Hallucinogen - Ketamine is an animal tranquilizer used by
vets in pet surgery. Users say the effects of Ketamine are similar to PCP.
Ketamine is usually snorted and is frequently used in combination with other
drugs like ecstasy, heroin, and cocaine. The high lasts anywhere from 30-minutes
to about 2-hours. Special K or powdered Ketamine emerged as a recreational
drug in the 1970s and was known as “Vitamin K’ in the underground
club scene in the 1980s. It has since resurfaced as “Special K” in
the 1990s rave scene.
GHB – Depressant - This substance comes in a liquid form and looks like
water. It is said to have a salty taste. GHB is used as a “club drug” for
effects similar to those of Rohypnol, also known as the “date rape drug.” Coma
and seizures can occur following use of GHB and when combined with methamphetamine.
Mixing GHB with alcohol can be a deadly combination. Excessive use of GHB can
result in loss of consciousness (G-hole), tremors, irregular and depressed
respiration, or coma.
Methcathinone – Stimulant - Known on the street as Khat or cat, it produces
an amphetamine like effect. The drug produces a burst of energy and feeling
of invincibility accompanied by a state of well being and euphoria. Effects
include paranoia, hallucinations, nervousness, and anxiety. Physical effects
can be a pounding heart, headaches, stomach aches, and shakes. Khat is most
often snorted but may also be injected with a needle or taken orally by mixing
with a beverage such as a soft drink.
LSD – Hallucinogen - LSD induces abnormalities in sensory perceptions.
Effects are unpredictable depending on the amount taken, on the surroundings
in which the drug is used, and on the user’s personality, mood, and expectations.
It can be in the form of a tablet, capsule, liquid, or on pieces of blotter
paper that have absorbed the drug. It is typically taken by mouth. Effects
present themselves within 30 to 90 minutes after taking the drug and can include
physical effects of dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart
rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth,
Magic Mushrooms – Hallucinogen - The effects of Mushrooms or “Shrooms” are
similar to LSD. They include illusions and hallucinations as well as distorted
perception of time and distance. It is ingested orally in the form of tablets
or powder. Trips or episodes can consist of psychosis, convulsions, flashbacks,
and possibly death.
Methamphetamine – Stimulant - Methamphetamine affects many areas of
the central nervous system. The drug is often made in clandestine laboratories
from relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. Diverse groups including
young adults who attend raves are using it. It is used by people in all regions
of the country. It is available in many forms and can be smoked, snorted, injected,
or orally ingested. Methamphetamine use is associated with serious health consequences
including memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and potential
cardiac and neurological damage. Abusers are typically agitated, have excited
speech, decreased appetite, and increased physical activity levels.
Some of the club drugs on this list are not new to the drug scene. At least
half of them were being abused in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s.
During the 90’s, emergency room admissions increased due to use of club
drugs. It can be very dangerous to mix some of these club drugs together and/or
to take with alcohol.
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