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The Hidden Dangers of Club Drugs

When we hear the words drug addiction, it's easy to imagine the heavy hitters: pain killers, heroin, meth, and crack cocaine. While these are common substances that are highly addictive, the stereotyping can cause us to downplay other drugs of choice. Lurking in the literal shadows of dark rooms with loud music are a group of drugs most write off when it comes to addiction. Club drugs, or party drugs, are an overlooked group that can be just as dangerous. Club drugs, also known as designer drugs or rave drugs, are a group of substances that are primarily used in nightclub, rave or music festival settings. The common substances are MDMA (the main component in Ecstasy/Molly), cocaine, Ketamine (an animal tranquilizer), and GHB (a liquid muscle relaxer common in the body-building world.) While these substances may not appear deadly on their own, the issue stems from two factors: buying drugs that aren't pure (drugs cut with deadly chemicals) and mixing the drugs with other substances. When it comes to mixing substances, most choose alcohol. For example, GHB is a clear liquid with no taste or smell which makes it easy to add into drinks. However, GHB is a depressant. Mixed with alcohol, both substances aim to slow down the body which means if too much is taken, the body can shut down completely. (The Effects of Mixing GHB and Alcohol) The same deadly outcome can happen with cocaine. Mixing alcohol and cocaine can lead to long term effects such as heart and liver damage, but more importantly, the mixture can cause an instant heart attack. (The Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol)

Secret Substances

The other main problem with club drugs stems from what's in them. Just like cases of heroin being laced with fentanyl, a drug that is over 80 times more potent than morphine, club drugs can follow the same patterns. (Risk of Counterfeit and Laced Drugs) If you're handed a white substance in the dark, there is no way to tell what you are taking. And if you don't know what you are taking, how can you be sure you're taking an amount that won't kill you? Even in pill form, you aren't safe from the dangers of laced substances. Many times, the suppliers who create the drugs cut their products with other substances to lessen the quality resulting in higher profit margins. There have been myriad studies done at nightclubs and music festivals all over the world that illuminate the dangers of buying these unknown drugs. In New York in 2015, a group of researchers tested the hair of almost 700 willing participants who stated they took some form of MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy. Only half of the hair samples contained traces of MDMA. The rest contained everything from chemicals found in bath salts to butylone, a psychedelic stimulant that can mirror the effects of cocaine. (Cleland) This group of ravers and club kids believed they were taking ecstasy, but half of the group got a mix of other toxic chemicals. In June of 2017, New York City ordered a health warning due to fentanyl-laced cocaine. (Emerging Trends and Alerts) In May of this year, Ohio's Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force reported man-made fentanyl and methamphetamine mixed pills created to look like ecstasy. (Thompson) From 1999 to 2014 in the U.S. alone, the numbers surrounding MDMA deaths grew eight times higher relating to the increase in cut substances. (What Adulterants Are Found in MDMA?) What is this information telling us? When you take something in a nightclub, statistically, there is a 50% chance you aren't getting what you bargained for. And in 2019, with fentanyl overdoses sweeping the nation, you are playing a deadly game when it comes to partying.

Club Drug Real Talk

There is no safe way to use club drugs. People can make the excuse of using test kits to determine potency. People can believe they know the person selling the drugs and trust their judgment. People can rationalize it any way they want, but when they take the powder, the pill, the substance, they are playing Russian Roulette with their lives. We may think going out once a week and using drugs in a nightclub setting can't hurt us. We rationalize it as the equivalent of going out once a week and grabbing a few drinks. But the reality is that these drugs, such as Ecstasy/MDMA/Molly, Cocaine, Ketamine, and GHB, can cause serious health issues and put us at risk of overdosing and life-long addiction. You may intend to take Molly, but what if you are taking heroin instead? You may plan on snorting cocaine, but what if you get a bath salt mixture that sends you to the hospital? Is it worth the risk?  

Just because it's not heroin, doesn't mean it's safe. If you or someone you know is using club drugs, reach out to Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center at (662) 478-9463 for help. Our facility is founded on helping kids and teens get clean through individualized treatment plans and scientific methods. You will have the freedom you need to restore your emotional, physical, and spiritual health while learning how to cope without substances.