Club Drug Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, Risks, and Treatment Resources
Club drugs are substances that are often brought to nightclubs and parties for the purpose of recreation. Most of these drugs have no medical use and are highly addictive. They also pose a very serious danger of overdose and death. But what are club drugs, and what makes them so addictive?
What Are Club Drugs?
Club drugs take on many different forms, and there are always new ones showing up in the mix. The purpose of club drugs is to enhance a person’s experience at a party or other recreational gathering. Many of these drugs are often combined with alcohol, which can further enhance their dangerous side effects.
Almost all club drugs are illegal and are smuggled into parties by the guests or hosts. In a study of New York adults who regularly went to clubs, around 70% of them used illicit drugs at least once during their lifetime. This is only one example that shows how many people use illicit substances when they go to clubs.
Side Effects of MDMA (Ecstasy)
Ecstasy is one of the most common club drugs out there. This is a drug that is taken by mouth and produces feelings of pleasure and relaxation. Many people also describe feeling more empathetic and aware of their surroundings when they’re on this drug.
It has stimulant properties and is commonly known as molly or mandy. It is a Schedule I substance, meaning it has no medicinal use and it has a very high potential for abuse.
Side Effects of Hallucinogens (LSD, DMT)
LSD is one of the most popular hallucinogenic drugs on the street. Hallucinogens allow people to see things that aren’t there. They may also smell, hear, and taste things that aren’t real. They may also cause people to have delusions. It is a synthetic drug that is often referred to as acid or tabs and is another Schedule I drug. This drug can be particularly dangerous and can cause a person to become panicked, violent, or suicidal.
Side Effects of Stimulants (Cocaine, Meth)
Cocaine and meth are both very popular stimulants that people like to bring to clubs and parties. They give people a boost of energy. Many people feel elated and euphoric when using them. They may have enough energy to go all night without sleeping. These drugs are also very dangerous and can lead to heart attacks, fainting, seizures, and death. Both cocaine and meth are Schedule II drugs since they have a few medicinal uses.
How Are Club Drugs Taken?
Many drugs are taken by mouth, such as LSD and ecstasy. Some, like cocaine, are snorted through the nose. There are also some drugs, like meth, that are injected or smoked in a pipe. Snorting, smoking, and injecting drugs produce immediate effects. Taking a drug by mouth may take as long as an hour before it kicks in.
Club Drugs Quick Reference Chart
|Drug Category||Commercial & Street Names||DEA Schedule||Administration|
|MDMA||Molly, mandy||Schedule I||Oral|
|Hallucinogens||LSD, DMT, acid, tabs||Schedule I||Oral|
|Stimulants||Coke, glass, powder, blow, snow||Schedule II||Snorting, injections, inhalation|
Learn About Specific Club Drugs
Other club drugs include roofies, ketamine, and GHB. Almost all club drugs are mixed with alcohol. This enhances their effects, but also makes them more dangerous.
Statistics on Club Drug Use, Misuse, and Addiction
As of 2019, 13% of people over the age of 12 have abused illegal drugs within the past month. While some prescription drugs are also used as club drugs, like Adderall, they are not as common. Most people prefer to try more intense drugs like LSD or ecstasy. What many people don’t realize is that a single recreational night of using these drugs can have serious health consequences.
Effects of Club Drug Abuse
Every club drug has different effects, and all of them have unique dangers. Since most clubmost of club drugsthem are taken with alcohol, fainting is a common side effect. Club drugs often act to enhance a person’s surroundings. This makes the bright lights and loud music in the environment more noticeable and engaging. Club drug abuse can also lead to headaches, dry mouth, fatigue, racing heart, and stomach troubles.
Can You Overdose on Club Drugs?
It is very easy to overdose on club drugs, especially if you’ve never tried them before. Many people are pressured by their friends to try them, and many end up taking too much. This can cause them to overdose and become unresponsive. Some may die if they don’t get the treatment they need fast enough.
Signs and Symptoms of Club Drugs Overdose
The early signs of an overdose include confusion, headache, fatigue, irritability, nausea, and vomiting. As the symptoms get worse, the person may pass out and become unresponsive. Their heart may stop if it slows down too much. This is also true of their breathing. It is very possible for a person to die once they go unconscious. They may suffocate or they may die from drug toxicity.
What to do if you suspect someone is overdosing on Club Drugs:
A drug overdose is a medical emergency, and you should treat it as such by calling 911 immediately. The ideal scenario is for medical services to get to the scene as quickly as possible to help the overdosed person. This gives them a better chance of recovering from the incident.
Dangers of Long-Term Club Drug Use
Many people only use club drugs when they go partying on the weekend. But some may become addicted and start using these drugs every day. This can lead to internal organ damage, especially to the liver, which is the organ that metabolizes drugs. The heart, lungs, and kidneys are also vulnerable to these drugs. The brain may sustain permanent negative changes and cognitive decline.
Mixing Club Drugs with Other Drugs
Club drugs are almost always mixed with alcohol. This makes them infinitely more dangerous. Some may mix club drugs with other club drugs in addition to alcohol. This can lead to an overdose, seizure, or death.
Club Drug Addiction and Abuse
Around 106,000 people died in 2021 alone from drug overdoses. Many of these overdoses involved illegal drugs like club drugs. Many people don’t realize that it’s possible to die from an overdose after trying a drug just once. A single dose might prove too much for a person, and such a mistake could be fatal.
Signs of Addiction to Club Drugs
If you find yourself craving club drugs when you’re not using them, you may have developed a dependence or addiction. This is also true if you experience withdrawal symptoms and feel ill when not using those drugs. Some may also develop headaches, stomach pain, muscle pain, and fatigue when not intoxicated. This can lead to irritability and drug-seeking behaviors like stealing.
Club Drug Addiction and Mental Health
Club drugs, when used in the long-term, can lead to depression and anxiety. While these drugs can make you feel great in the moment, they are often accompanied by a crash. This crash can make a person very depressed, and this depression can be long-lasting. Some may also experience paranoia and mood changes.
Club Drug Addiction Treatment
Club drug addiction treatment involves a lot of therapy. This allows a person to understand their addiction and what they can do to move past it. Most people require a few months of treatment before they can get back on track. This treatment is covered by many types of health insurance, so the cost shouldn’t be a big issue. The main programs are partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, detox, and outpatient treatment.
Therapies Used in Club Drug Addiction Treatment
Some of the most effective drug therapy options include the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Art therapy
Dual Diagnosis for Co-Occurring Disorders
Many people who develop club drug addictions already have substance use disorders. Once they start using club drugs, they may find it difficult to stop.
Club Drug Withdrawal Management Treatment
Detoxing is a painful but necessary part of the drug treatment process. Once the drugs are out of your system, you will start feeling better. This should take a few weeks. The cost will depend on your program, healthcare provider, insurance, and more.
Drugs Used in Club Drug Withdrawal Management
If you happen to become addicted to opioid club drugs, buprenorphine and methadone could help you overcome your withdrawals. Otherwise, you would need to rely on other medications, such as OTC pain medications, to help you through this process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Anyone can get addicted to club drugs, but some are more likely than others. Those with substance abuse disorders have a better chance of becoming addicted.
These drugs can be very dangerous. Thousands of people overdose and die every year because of these substances.
Most club drugs are not prescription medications. There are a few examples, such as Adderall, which is also known as speed. But other than that, most of them are illegal substances.
Are you or a loved one struggling with Club Drug usage?
 Kelly, B. C., Parsons, J. T., & Wells, B. E. (2006). Prevalence and predictors of club drug use among club-going young adults in New York city. Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 83(5), 884–895. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2438587/ on May 22, 2023.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022d, October 20). FastStats – illegal drug use. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-illicit.htm on May 22, 2023.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023b, March 31). Drug overdose death rates. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates May 22, 2023.