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CLUB DRUGS/SYNTHETIC DRUGS FAQs

CLUB DRUGS/SYNTHETIC DRUGS FAQs

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What are club drugs, and what are the effects of club drugs?

Clubs drugs are popular among young adults and adolescents throughout the nation.  These drugs are commonly known as club drugs because they became popular within rave and night club culture.  These drugs have also been referred to as designer drugs because they are man-made and are not synthesized from a plant or natural product.  Club drugs became popular among rave culture because of all-night dance parties with loud music, flashing lights, and various other stimuli for the effects of the drugs to play off of.  These drugs became popular in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe in the 1980s and this popularity eventually shifted over to the United States. The drugs were unique to the rave experience and offered a barrage of stimulation.  Club drugs create a mind-altering experience and overload the senses.  

When club drugs became popular in the United States, the frequency of use rapidly increased.  For example, ecstasy became a popular club drug used within the rave scene, and close to 90% of rave attendees reported using the drug at least once.  Close to 50% of people who attended raves in the United States had reported using ecstasy at least once in a month. Current ecstasy users were also more likely than nonusers to have used marijuana and cocaine.  When club drugs became popular, they started to change the trend in recreational drug use among adolescents and young adults. New recreational drugs are frequently emerging, but club drugs were always made with cheap products and were also easily obtained.  

The frequency of use with club drugs not only became popular within the night club and rave scene but became popular in many different social settings, such as college parties.  Throughout the United States, many local colleges and universities saw increases in the use of ecstasy in the early 2000s. Since 2001 the rate of ecstasy use has declined, but it is still a popular club drug used by adolescents and young adults.  Many local hospitals in the United States saw increases with emergency room visits because of GHB and other types of sedative type drugs. Some of the drugs that are considered club drugs include GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and LSD.  

Today, club drugs are found at parties, bars, nightclubs, concerts, and many other types of social settings.  The drugs are still widely popular at places with extensive stimulation, such as raves and outdoor concerts or festivals.  Most of these drugs are illegal and cause serious illness, injury, and even death. Club drugs today are unpredictable, and many of these drugs have been found laced with fentanyl.  There are many different ingredients that the user thinks, and they are always at risk when using these drugs. Club drugs cause the user to feel open, aroused, and unafraid, while also slowing down the central nervous system and brain functions.  These drugs reduce the ability to physically and mentally react to the surroundings, leading to personal injury.

What are synthetic drugs, and are they dangerous?

Synthetic drugs are referred to as designer or club drugs and are created in a lab to mimic the effects of other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or even morphine.  Designer drugs have different and unique effects on the brain and behavior of the person using them. These drugs are created in illegal labs, and the ingredients and potency of these drugs are difficult to predict.  There have been more than 200 identified synthetic drug compounds and over 90 different synthetic marijuana compounds. Most of the synthetic drugs that are found in the United States are made in foreign countries and smuggled into the nation.  Some of the common side effects caused by synthetic drugs include anxiety, aggressive behavior, paranoia, seizures, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, and even death or coma.  

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine.  There is pharmaceutical grade fentanyl that is commonly used to treat pain. However, the non-pharmaceutical fentanyl has been one of the most significant contributing factors to the opioid epidemic within the nation.  Fentanyl has been found added to heroin, cocaine, and even marijuana. Someone who is using heroin may be using a lethal dose of fentanyl. Synthetic marijuana has also become popular in the United States, and these compounds are known as cannabinoids.  There are over 90 different synthetic marijuana chemical compounds that have been produced. Synthetic marijuana has continually made new headlines in the country because of the dangerous adverse reactions young people have had.  

Forms of synthetic LSD are also available, and this is phenethylamine and mimics the effects of LSD causing hallucinations and paranoia.  Synthetic stimulants or cathinones mimic the effects of ecstasy or MDMA, and drugs such as bath salts are unpredictable and cause dangerous adverse reactions.  Synthetic PCP mimics the effects of PCP and causes delusions, psychosis, and an intense feeling of being detached from your body. These types of drugs are extremely dangerous and do create addiction.  The unpredictable nature of these drugs increases the risk of overdose and severe health complications. Synthetic drugs have different chemical structures to the illicit substances they are trying to mimic.  These drugs are often marketed as being legal, safe and acceptable alternatives to illegal drugs, which is why they have become appealing to young people.

Most synthetic drug use is recreational drug use and is often part of a larger drug problem.  The type of treatment you would need for a synthetic drug problem includes detox and some type of inpatient or outpatient treatment.  Synthetic drug use is dangerous because of the various chemicals used to produce these drugs. When adolescents use synthetic drugs for the first time, they are often quickly admitted into the emergency room because of an adverse reaction.  Synthetic drugs have also become popular club drugs also leading to dangerous health problems and deadly overdose.

Are club drugs the same as date rape drugs?

Most of the drugs classified as club drugs are also used as date rape drugs.  These types of drugs are groups of psychoactive drugs that are abused by teens and young adults.  However, these drugs gained popularity as being recognized as a drug used to commit sexual assault.  The types of drugs used as date rape drugs include GHB, ketamine, and Rohypnol because they are tasteless, odorless and are easily dissolved in liquids. These types of drugs are sedatives and affect the person quickly before you become aware that something is wrong.  The length of time the effects last does vary depending on the type of drug and the person who it was given to. It often depends on how much is in your body and if the drug is mixed with other drugs, such as alcohol. Alcohol intensifies the effects of the drugs even stronger and does cause serious health problems.  

When date rape drugs are mixed with alcohol, the effects include a feeling of dizziness, having problems talking or causing slurred speech.  People who have been given these types of drugs will also have trouble moving or controlling muscle movement, and feel nauseous along with having a slowed heartbeat.  Other symptoms include feeling sleepy, confused, having difficulty breathing, and will eventually pass out. The combination of drugs and alcohol causes problems with thinking, making decisions, and remembering what happened.  The effects of amnesia are one reason why most people who have been sexually assaulted while under the influence of the drugs never report it. However, if you know it has happened, it is crucial to seek out medical help and report the incident to the police.  

GHB is a central nervous system depressant and is often prescribed to treat narcolepsy.  Rohypnol is a type of benzodiazepine and is chemically similar to Valium and Xanax and is a type of sedative-hypnotic drug.  Ketamine is a type of dissociative anesthetic and is mostly used in veterinary practices. GHB and Rohypnol are colorless, odorless, and tasteless drugs, which are easily dissolved in liquids.  When these drugs are combined with alcohol, it intensifies the effects. Both of these drugs have been used to commit sexual assault due to the drug’s ability to sedate and incapacitate the person.  GHB is also ingested orally and is found as either a liquid or powder. Both GHB and Rohypnol have also been abused for the intoxicating effects, which are similar to other CNS depressants. GHB also produces anabolic effects and has been used by bodybuilders to aid in fat reduction and muscle building. 

Besides these drugs being used as date rape drugs, they are all addictive, and the prolonged use of these drugs create addiction and dependency.  The repeated use of GHB leads to withdrawal effects, such as insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. The chronic use of Rohypnol also creates tolerance and physical dependence and addiction.  Ketamine will also create addiction with regular use, and drug users will develop signs of tolerance and addiction. When these types of drugs are used, it is extremely difficult to determine the toxicity of them.  Some of the common medical problems include seizures, and when combined with alcohol, it results in nausea, difficulty breathing, and can even be lethal. Large amounts of Rohypnol are lethal when mixed with alcohol and other CNS depressants.  A larger dose of ketamine causes impaired motor function, high blood pressure, and fatal respiratory problems.

Is synthetic marijuana dangerous?

Synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids is often referred to as fake weed and have been used as an alternative to marijuana since the products were introduced in the early 2000s.  These man-made products are produced in labs and are made to mimic the effects of marijuana. Countless synthetic marijuana products are being sold today. These types of drugs are classified as new psychoactive substances, or unregulated mind-altering substances intended to produce the same effects as other drugs.  Some of the common side effects of synthetic marijuana include elevated mood, relaxation, altered perception, psychosis, extreme anxiety, confusion, paranoia, and hallucinations. Other common symptoms include suicidal thoughts, rapid heart rate, raised blood pressure, vomiting, kidney damage, and seizures.  

Synthetic marijuana is dangerous because of the different chemicals that are found within it.  This drug affects the brain cell receptors that respond to THC. Some of the common side effects are similar to marijuana.  There have been reports of overdose that have caused fatal heart attacks. Other dangerous health problems include acute kidney injury resulting in hospitalization.  Some of the short-term effects include an increase in blood pressure, tremors, and heightened anxiety. The regular use of synthetic marijuana can result in increased tolerance and needing more of the drug.  The daily use of synthetic weed will also create a physical and psychological addiction and dependency. When someone dependent on synthetic marijuana stops using the drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.  The withdrawal symptoms include headaches, severe anxiety, depression, and irritability.

Throughout the United States, there has been a surge of patients seeking emergency care after using synthetic marijuana.  Synthetic marijuana is made with nearly 100 different chemicals that are sprayed onto dried shredded plant material. Many chemicals are used, and all have different traits, and many commercial chemistry labs in China and the Pacific Rim countries produce the chemicals on demand for distributors.  All of the chemicals produced are active CB1 receptors in the brain and are the same receptors activated when consuming marijuana. The activity of synthetic cannabinoids can often be hundreds of times stronger than marijuana. All of the chemicals that are used to make synthetic marijuana are illegal to possess and sell within the United States.  

Synthetic marijuana is dangerous and easy to obtain, which is why they are popular among young adults and teens.  Potential dealers will order the chemical compounds through the internet, and most of the chemicals arrive as a white powder.  The product is then sprayed onto products that are sold and consumed by unknowing addicts. Synthetic marijuana is 30 times more likely to harm the user than regular marijuana.  Roughly around 7 to 10% of high school students and approximately 15% of adults have tried synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana use is a growing problem in the United States and anyone addicted to synthetic marijuana can find help through one of the many drug treatment centers within the nation.

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