How are Club Drugs Taken?
Club drugs usually are taken orally and may be taken in combination with each other, with alcohol, or with other drugs. Club drugs often are adulterated or misrepresented. Any club drug overdose should therefore be suspected as polydrug use with the actual substance and dose unknown. Persons who have adverse reactions to these club drugs are likely to consult a family physician. Toxicologic screening generally is not available for club drugs.
The Danger of Mixing Club Drugs
Club drugs are favored over other recreational drugs, such as marijuana, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methamphetamine, and opiates, because they are believed to enhance social interaction. They often are described as “entactogens,” giving a sense of physical closeness, empathy, and euphoria. MDMA is structurally similar to amphetamine and mescaline, which is a hallucinogen. However, it is not as stimulating or addictive as amphetamine, and is considered much less likely to cause psychosis than LSD and other potent hallucinogens.1 GHB and Rohypnol are powerful sedative/hypnotic agents. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that produces a dreamy tranquility and disinhibition in small doses. Unlike opiates, these sedatives encourage sociability and seldom cause nausea.
Side Effects & Severe Reactions of Club Drug Overdose
The primary management is supportive care, with symptomatic control of excess central nervous system stimulation or depression. There are no specific antidotes except for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine that responds to flumazenil. Special care must be taken for immediate control of hyperthermia, hypertension, rhabdomyolysis, and serotonin syndrome. Severe drug reactions can occur even with a small dose and may require critical care. Club drug overdose usually resolves with full recovery within seven hours. Education of the patient and family is essential.