Club Drugs: Dangerous and Deadly Fads


The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) defines Club Drugs as: “Drugs popular with youth who are part of a club scene and want to take the drugs to gain increased stamina for late night dancing and partying. Generally includes marijuana, MDMA, LSD, and Ketamine. In the West and the South may also include methamphetamine and prescription drugs.” This article will explore several of the popular Club Drugs.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), other Club Drugs that are increasing in popularity are MDMA or Ecstasy, GHB or Liquid X, Rohypnolis or Roofies, methamphetamine or Meth.

Many of these drugs also have been known as ‘Date Rape Drugs,’ since many of them are available in a powder or liquid form and can easily be slipped into an unsuspecting person’s drink, resulting in an altered state, making it easier to take advantage of them, in a manner that appears as though they have consented. In instances where proof of these drugs can be detected in a victim’s system, many court cases have returned convictions for rape or sexual assault, even if the victim appeared to have consented.

Because these Club Drugs are taken for partying and club hopping, their danger is increased, because the potential for combing these drugs with alcohol is increased. Many Club Drugs are stimulants, which are taken in order to stay awake and party all night, and many of them are depressants, meant to lower inhibitions. Ecstasy (MDMA) is taken to increase pleasurable sensations, particularly sexual sensations. These psychedelic and ‘social’ drugs are extremely dangerous, and there have been many documented deaths due to certain Club Drugs, from the very first use of the drug.

There is a very dangerous aspect to the Club Drug scene, which is the tendency to mix these drugs, causing varying dangerous side effects. Another dangerous problem with Club Drugs is that, unlike many street drugs of which you have to purchase certain quantities, Club Drugs are often available in one-use doses, making them easier to obtain and afford.

Club Drugs are increasing in popularity, especially with the high school and college crowd. People who are in this age group should be cautious when attending Raves or Trances, or when frequenting night clubs to watch for inadvertent ingestion of these mind-altering drugs.

Its clinical name is 4-methylthioamphetamine, or 4-MTA, but it is better known on the street as Flatliners. This powerful amphetamine releases serotonin, resulting in a euphoric state, and researchers have found it is more deadly than MDMA (Ecstasy).

Fortunately, 4-MTA is not as prevalent as MDMA, and is not one of the more popular Club Drugs.

4-methylthioamphetamine, a phenylethylamine derivative, made the news in the United Kingdom, where, according to MEDLINE, the first reported case of a 4-MTA related overdose death was reported. In 1998, the London Toxicology Group reported a UK based theft of 25,000 tablets. This was the first time 4-MTA was considered to be a new ‘street drug.’ Because of its recent street debut, there is not much information on the abuse of this drug. Outside of the UK, there have also been reported deaths from 4-MTA overdose in Belgium and Holland, where this drug is not a currently a controlled substance.

Originally, 4-methylthioamphetamine, because it is a stimulant, was designed to be used as a mild anti-depressant. Currently, 4-MTA has no therapeutic use, because the drug has been found to be highly toxic. In addition, this synthetic drug has been linked to several deaths, and, because it is a MAOI (monoamine oxide inhibitor), this drug can have dangerous consequences when combined with other prescription and over the counter medications.

Research is being conducted for other therapeutic uses of this drug and to reduce its toxicity, but until then, this drug is no longer in production. Because of this, 4-MTA is a rare, but highly dangerous street drug.

With a clinical name like 4-Bromo-2,5-Dimethoxyphenethylamine (2CB), it is no wonder this drug quickly earned a street name. Known as Nexus on the street, this drug is said to be ten times more powerful than Ecstasy and is often taken with Ecstasy to prolong the desired effect.

Nexus, and especially when combined with Ecstasy, provides a euphoric high that heightens pleasurable sensation. Available in pill, powder, and capsules, Nexus is usually taken orally, but there are reports of Nexus being snorted or smoked. When a person uses Nexus, he or she will receive a high that enhances visual and auditory perception, increases sexual pleasure and desire, and strengthens the senses of touch and taste.

While the reasons a person takes Nexus may sound pleasurable, the side effects are not and may include fatigue, depression, psychotic episodes, dehydration, hallucinations, panic attacks, erratic heartbeat, and sometimes death. The side effects and potential dangers of Nexus are increased when taken in combination with Ecstasy.

According to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, some other street names for Nexus are: Blue Mystic and Tripstasy. Nexus is a psychoactive and hallucinogenic drug, which is produced illegally and synthetically. Because of this, there is no consistency to the drug, and Nexus is rarely found on the street in pure form.  This can be a dangerous situation for the user, since the amount of Nexus actually available in each pill or powder purchased can vary greatly. A Nexus user could receive a relatively low dose one time, and have little or no adverse effects.

Then, the next time a user purchases this drug, it could be a higher dose or could be cut with a dangerous substance, resulting in negative side effects – up to and including death.

Angina is a condition that is related to heart disease and causes chest pain. Amyl nitrite is a medication often prescribed to treat angina. When taken, amyl nitrite increases the supply of blood, and therefore oxygen, to the heart, while also relaxing the muscles of the blood vessels, thus reducing the demands the body places on the heart.

When taken for medical purposes, under the care of a physician, amyl nitrite can be life saving. However, abuse of this drug can be life threatening. Reports of recreational use and abuse of amyl nitrite came as early as 1979. Amyl nitrite, an inhalant, is known on the street as ‘snappers’ or ‘poppers’ because of the manner in which the drug is packaged.
Amyl nitrite comes in a cloth-wrapped tube, or bulb, and the user breaks the tube, and then inhales the drug. The street name was given to amyl nitrite due to the sound the tube makes when broken.

At one time, amyl nitrite did not require a prescription. Now, a prescription is required to purchase this drug from a pharmacy, and because of this, amyl nitrite abuse is less common, with individuals wanting the same effects opting for butyl nitrite instead.

The effects of the drug that result in its abuse are feelings of giddiness, a euphoric rush sensation, and an increase in sensual awareness. These effects do not last long, though, usually 1-3 minutes, and then the user may experience fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, and confusion.

Because amyl nitrite’s effects do not last long, this drug is not used for partying or long-term, and there is no indication of physical dependence from the occasional use of this drug. On the street, amyl nitrite is mostly used to enhance sexual experiences, because of its mild muscle relaxing properties.

Club Drugs are a fad, but a fad that has been around a lot longer than many realize. Basic rule here is, be careful. Street and Club drugs are not only illegal, but are also dangerous and potentially life threatening.


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