Club Drugs

Ketamine, MDMA, GHB, and flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) are substances used in nightclubs, "raves," and dance parties to enhance feelings of intimacy and sensory stimulation. "Ecstasy," or MDMA, produces distorted perceptions of time, enhanced enjoyment of tactile sensations, and feelings of increased energy by increasing the release of serotonin, dopa-mine, and norepinephrine. The sympathetic overload caused by MDMA can produce hypertension, tachycardia, tremor, diaphoresis, and arrhythmias. MDMA intoxication is also associated with a potentially fatal serotonin syndrome that causes hyperthermia, autonomic instability, and myoclonus. Users of MDMA will typically experience severe depression 2 days after its ingestion.

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic derived from PCP. Usually stolen from veterinarians and physician offices, illicit supplies of ketamine are dried in powder form and smoked in nightclubs with tobacco and marijuana or inhaled. "Special K" can produce sensations of floating outside one's body, visual hallucinations, and dreamlike states that last for 30 to 45 minutes after ingestion.

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) can cause euphoria at lower doses and drowsiness, dizziness, visual disturbances, hypotonia, and amnesia at higher doses. Overdoses of GHB can cause seizures, severe respiratory depression, coma, and death. Because of its sedative and amnesic effect, GHB has been used as a "date rape" drug.

Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) is a powerful benzodiazepine with 10 times the strength of diazepam that is capable of reducing anxiety, muscle tension, and inhibition. Higher doses of flunitrazepam can produce lack of muscle control, loss of consciousness, and anterograde amnesia. As with GHB, flunitrazepam has been used as a "date rape" drug (Gahlinger, 2004).

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