Club Drugs Information

LSD Mushrooms Peyote
LSD (Acid) Mushrooms Peyote Buttons
and Powder

Introduction

The term "club drugs" refers to a wide range of substances that are commonly abused by young adults and teens at all-night "rave" clubs and parties. The drugs reported in these scenes are extremely diverse and vary among locales. Overall, they include drugs that have long been abused, such as marijuana and cocaine, and drugs whose abuse is a more recent development. Some are stimulants, some depressants, and some hallucinogens - while most exhibit multiple pharmacological properties. This section addresses the below club drugs, grouped as follows:

Designer Drugs

"Designer drug" is the term used for a drug created by changing the molecular structure of one or more existing drugs to create a new substance. Designer drugs have no accepted medical purpose. As a result, they are synthesized in illicit laboratories. MDMA (ecstasy) is the most sought after and the most commonly abused of the designer drugs. The other designer drugs are considered by users to be inferior substitutes for MDMA and are typically only ingested unknowingly, when present in tablets sold as ecstasy. Examples of other designer drugs are: MDA, MDE, MBDB, DOB, DOM, 2C-B. MDMA and MDA are discussed below.

MDMA

  • Synonyms: 
    dl-3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
  • Drug Class: 
    CNS Stimulant; Hallucinogen
  • Street Names: 
    Beans; E; Ecstacy; Ecstasy; Rolls; X; XTC
  • Description: 
    MDMA is classified as both a stimulant and a hallucinogen. When ingested, MDMA produces potent feelings of empathy and well-being beyond that associated with other drugs of abuse. For this reason, it is the most sought after drug in the club environment. MDMA's chemical structure is similar to methamphetamine, MDA, and mescaline. It is found primarily in tablet form, known as "ecstasy". Though ecstasy tablets often contain other compounds in addition to MDMA, such as methamphetamine, mescaline, MDA, ketamine, caffeine, and others. Users are typically unaware of the exact combination of drugs they are actually taking. Physical symptoms can include jaw clenching, teeth grinding, dilated pupils, perspiring, anxiety, blurred vision, vomiting, and increased blood pressure and heart rate. MDMA is not known to be addictive. However, the after-effects of an MDMA episode can be dramatic, sometimes lasting for several days. These effects include physical and mental exhaustion, depression, irritability, poor concentration, forgetfulness, and paranoia.
  • Excretion: 
    Urinary excretion accounts for 65% of an MDMA dose as unchanged MDMA and 7% as MDA within 3 days. Due to chemical similarities with methamphetamine, MDMA shows significant cross-reactivity with many types of methamphetamine urine screen tests.

MDA

  • Synonyms: 
    dl-3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • Drug Class: 
    CNS Stimulant; Hallucinogen
  • Street Names: 
    Beans; E; Ecstacy; Ecstasy; Rolls; X; XTC
  • Description: 
    MDA is classified as both a stimulant and a hallucinogen. Its chemical structure is similar to amphetamine and MDMA. MDA produces effects in users similar to that of MDMA. However, MDMA remains the drug of choice among users. Thus, MDA is typically only ingested unknowingly, when present in combination with MDMA in ecstasy tablets.
  • Excretion: 
    The human metabolism of MDA has not been studied. However, urine MDA concentrations of up to 160,000 ng/ml have been recorded in fatal cases. This suggests that substantial portions of MDA are excreted in the urine unchanged. Due to chemical similarities with amphetamine, MDA shows significant cross-reactivity with many types of amphetamine urine screen tests.

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens, also known as "psychedelics", refers to a wide range of substances derived from both natural and synthetic sources. In general, hallucinogens distort the user's sensory perceptions and may also create feelings of euphoria. These effects vary depending on the drug in question. The stronger hallucinogens can exert a powerful effect on a drug user's thinking and can produce sensory illusions that make it difficult to distinguish between fact and fantasy. In general, hallucinogens do not create a physical dependence, but they can create a psychological dependence. Their consumption also creates a tolerance that is built rapidly within the body. Many drugs that exhibit mild hallucinogenic properties are commonly classified as hallucinogens, including marijuana and MDMA. Drugs that exhibit potent hallucinogenic properties are discussed below, including, LSD, ketamine, peyote/mescaline, and mushrooms.

LSD

  • Synonyms: 
    Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
  • Drug Class: 
    Hallucinogen
  • Street Names: 
    Acid; Blotter; Microdots; Paper; Trips; Window Panes
  • Description: 
    LSD, commonly referred to as "acid", is a very potent hallucinogen. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is an odorless, colorless, liquid. This liquid is typically added to absorbent paper, such as blotter paper, and divided into small decorated squares, with each square representing one dose. Less commonly, LSD is found in its pure liquid form. The quantity of LSD found in recent illicit supplies ranges from 20 to 80 micrograms per dose. The maximum dosage for human beings is said to be unknown. The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken, the user's personality, mood, expectations, and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Usually, the user feels the first effects of the drug 30 to 90 minutes after taking it. The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, perspiration, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.

Ketamine

  • Drug Class: 
    General Anesthetic; Hallucinogen
  • Brand Names: 
    Ketalar
  • Street Names: 
    Cat Tranquilizer; K; Ket; Special K; Vitamin K
  • Description: 
    Ketamine is a general anesthetic that has been approved for both human and animal use in medical settings since 1970. Approximately 90% of the ketamine legally sold is intended for veterinary use, which is liquid in form. The street form is typically a white powder that is sniffed. Certain doses of ketamine can cause dream-like states and hallucinations. At high doses, ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems. Emergency room mentions of ketamine rose from 19 in 1994 to 396 in 1999, indicating a significant surge in its popularity.

Peyote/Mescaline

  • Synonyms: 
    Lophophora Williamsii
  • Drug Class: 
    Hallucinogen
  • Street Names: 
    Buttons; Mesc
  • Description: 
    Peyote is a small, spineless cactus whose principal active ingredient is the hallucinogen mescaline. Peyote has been used by natives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States as a part of traditional religious rites. The underside of the peyote cactus produces "buttons" that resemble common mushrooms. The fleshy parts of the buttons are ground into a fine powder for ingestion. A dose between 350 mg and 500 mg of dried powder produces illusions and hallucinations lasting for 5 to 12 hours. Overall effects are similar to those of LSD. Mescaline can be extracted from peyote or produced synthetically. Street mescaline is typically synthetic. Today, members of the Native American Church of North America still use the peyote cactus in their religious rituals and rites. Their religious use of the drug is exempt from portions of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. But church members remain prohibited from trafficking or distributing the peyote cactus.

Mushrooms

  • Drug Class: 
    Hallucinogen
  • Street Names: 
    Magic Mushrooms; Shrooms
  • Description: 
    Psilocybin, and the related chemical psilocin, are the active ingredients in several species of mushrooms and other fungi that grow throughout the world. Psilocybin is chemically related to both LSD and dimethyltryptamine (DMT). In the United States, hallucinogenic mushrooms are typically found growing in cow manure during periods of moist weather. They are normally eaten raw, but can also be boiled into a liquid form. The overall effects of psilocybin are similar to those of LSD, including dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, perspiring, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. As with LSD, tolerance to psilocybin develops quickly. There are no significant withdrawal symptoms from hallucinogenic mushrooms and no physical dependence appears to take place. There may be a strong desire to repeat the experience, which could be indicative of some degree of psychological dependence.

Depressants

Depressants, also known as sedatives, commonly abused in the club environment include GHB and Rohypnol. These sedatives are highly potent. As a result, they have earned the title "date rape drugs". GHB is discussed below. For Rohypnol information, see Benzodiazepines.

GHB

  • Synonyms: 
    Gamma Hydroxybutyrate
  • Drug Class: 
    CNS Depressant
  • Street Names: 
    Date Rape Drug; G; Liquid Ecstasy
  • Description: 
    GHB is a potent central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Prior to 1990, GHB was available in the United States as an over-the-counter pill or powder, sold mostly in health food stores. It was used by body builders to assist the production of muscle-building growth hormones by the body. Though there is no evidence to support this claim. In 1990, GHB was banned by the FDA due to incidents of death and serious illness related to its use. GHB is synthesized from fairly common chemicals and is typically manufactured in "kitchen-sink" laboratories. It is normally found as a clear liquid which is consumed orally and is sold in small vials. GHB exhibits different properties at varying dosages. In moderate doses, GHB acts euphorically, producing effects similar to alcohol. In larger doses, GHB acts as a potent sedative, often resulting in unconsciousness. The amount required to produce the desired euphoric effects is dangerously near the amount that results in unconsciousness. This factor is responsible for a high incidence of GHB related emergency room episodes. It is also responsible for GHB's use as a date rape drug. A significant dose is easily poured into the drink of an unsuspecting victim without notice. Thus, club goers should be forewarned not to leave drinks unattended.

Rohypnol

Sources:

  • Baselt, Randall C., and Robert H. Cravey. Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc., 1989.
  • Beyond the ABC's Information for Professionals - Hallucinogens. Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://www.nadc.gov.ab.ca/aadac/addictions/beyond/beyond_hallucinogens.htm>.
  • Criminal Justice Home Page. Lincoln Land Community College. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://www.llcc.cc.il.us/justice/drugs/drugsclass.html>.
  • DOM, DOB, MDA, MDMA & 2C-B. U.S. Department of Justice - Drug Enforcement Administration. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/abuse/chap5/dom.htm>.
  • Leshner, Alan I. "A Club Drug Alert." NIDA Notes Mar. 2000. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol14N6/DirRepVol14N6.html>.
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  • NIDA Infofax 13550 - LSD. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/lsd.html>.
  • NIDA Infofax 13674 - Club Drugs. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/Clubdrugs.html>.
  • Drug Information - GHB. The Centre for Recovery. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/town/terrace/gjl37/druginfo/ghb.html>.
  • Peyote & Mescaline. U.S. Department of Justice - Drug Enforcement Administration. 12 Sept. 2001 <http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/abuse/chap5/peyote.htm>.