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Club Drugs Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: 

Common name for a group of drugs that include, but is not limited to:

  • Gamma-hydroxybutyrate acid or Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB)
  • Ketamine Hydrochloride (Ketamine)
  • Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol®)
  • Methamphetamine (meth)
  • 3, 4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
 
Other Common Names:
  • GHB – cherry fX bombs, everclear, gamma G, G, wolfies, liquid ecstasy
  • Ketamine – special K, K, Vitamin K, Super C, cat valium, jet, super acid
  • Flunitrazepam - roofies, beans, ruffies, ruffles, and rophies
  • Meth – speed, beanies, crank, crystal meth, hot ice, ice, glass, fire
  • MDMA - ecstasy, molly, mandy
 
Please Note: Meth and MDMA are described in detail on individual info pages.

Description: 

The term “club drugs” (referring to GHB, ketamine, and Flunitrazepam for this description) is a collective name for a group of pharmacologically heterogeneous drugs that are commonly used by teenagers and young adults at clubs, parties, and concerts. They are particularly popular at “Raves” which are all-night events with pounding music and flashing lights that enhance the effect of the drugs.

GHB is produced naturally by the body in very small quantities, and it only takes as little as one-half gram to render a person incapable of controlled physical and mental reactions. It gives a person a “rush” within minutes, but the effects may last for 3-6 hours. The drug can be added to a liquid and is odourless and colourless.
Ketamine is a dissociative general anaesthetic that is commonly used in veterinary medicine. The street Ketamine has usually been stolen or illegally purchased. The dissociative characteristic refers to the fact it makes the user feel detached from surroundings and their own body. It is called “conscious sedation.”  The effects may last for approximately an hour. The liquid or power can be mixed with a liquid and is odourless, colourless, and tasteless. There are known cases of people injecting the liquid and snorting or smoking the powder.
 
Flunitrazepam, sold under various brand names, is prescribed as a sleeping pill where legal. It is also used as a sedative. The drug’s effects begin as quickly as 30 minutes after ingestion, peak at 2 hours, and can continue for up to another 8-12 hours. Like GHB and Ketamine, it causes loss of mental and physical control, making the person appear drunk. The pills can be easily dissolved in water, and no one can tell since it is odourless, colourless, and tasteless.
 
GHB and Rohypnol are sometimes referred to as “date rape drugs” because they have been used to commit drug-assisted assaults. The drugs sedate and incapacitate victims. Since they cannot be detected with the senses, it makes it easy to slip these drugs into an unsuspecting person’s drink.
 
Source: 
  • GHB – Synthesized psychoactive drug that can be manufactured at home with common ingredients
  • Ketamine – Commercially manufactured dissociative drug
  • Flunitrazepam – Manufactured intermediate acting benzodiazepine
 
Forms:  
  • GHB – liquid, powder
  • Ketamine – liquid, powder
  • Rohypnol – pill, powder
 
Health Effects:
  • Psychological Effects

    • GHB – The drug is a depressant that can produce short-term euphoria and feelings of intoxication, followed by drowsiness. There may be hallucinations and amnesia.
       
    • Ketamine – This is a dissociative drug that makes a person feel detached and likely to experience a dream-like mental state. Severe effects can include hallucinations.
       
    • Flunitrazepam – This is a benzodiazepine derivative that is a hypnotic and causes amnesia. The brand name drug Rohypnol was originally developed for the short-term treatment of insomnia, but there are now several other brand name drugs manufactured with Flunitrazepam that are used to treat depression. The psychological effects include confusion, poor reaction times, retroactive amnesia, reduced inhibition, and short-term excitability.
       
  • Physical Effects: 

    • GHB – The physical impacts of GHB include hypotension, dizziness, severe respiratory depression, vomiting, slowed heart rate (brady cardia), and nausea. In high doses, unconsciousness can occur within a matter of minutes. When mixed with alcohol, GHB can quickly lead to coma or death. Ingesting only 2 grams can lead to a coma-like sleep.
       
    • Ketamine – There are a number of possible physical effects that accompany the psychological impacts. They include loss of coordination, numbness, respiratory problems, impaired memory, inability to maintain attention, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, slurred speech, and decrease in learning ability. Tolerance for the drug can grow, leading to dependence.
       
    • Flunitrazepam – The physical impacts include drowsiness, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure, slurred speech, respiratory depression, stomach disturbances, impaired speech, and urinary retention

 

Detection Period:  

  • GHB – in blood up to 4 hours; in urine up to 24 hours
  • Ketamine – in urine for up to 48 hours
  • Flunitrazepam – in blood stream for 24 hours; in urine for 48-60 hours
 
Legal Status:  
  • GHB – It is an illegal drug in Australia.
  • Ketamine – It is a restricted Schedule 8 controlled substance that only a vet or doctor is allowed to prescribe or administer.
  • Flunitrazepam - All benzodiazepines are illegal in Australia unless medically prescribed by a physician. Flunitrazepam is a Schedule 8 substance, meaning it is a controlled drug.
 
In Western Australia, it is illegal to possess, use, manufacture, or supply an illegal drug. The penalties for possession are a maximum $2,000 fine and/or 2 years in prison. The penalties for manufacturing and supplying illegal drugs are a maximum $100,000 fine and/or 25 years in prison.
 
It is also against the law to be in possession of a Schedule 8 controlled substance without a proper prescription. 
         
Other Information: 
  • Mixing the club drugs in any combination is potentially deadly. 
  • GHB is a depressant, so mixing it with another depressant like alcohol can dangerously compound the effects.
  • Flunitrazepam has quickly led to coma and death in people who overdose. 

Flunitrazepam mixed with alcohol can extend the effects from 8-12 hours to up to 36 hours.

 

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