What Are Club Drugs? - Definition & Effects

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  • 0:36 GHB
  • 1:28 Rohypnol
  • 2:20 Ketamine
  • 2:58 Methamphetamine
  • 4:09 MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • 5:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Club drugs are recreational drugs that go by a lot of different names, such as the date-rape drugs, special K, crystal meth and ecstasy. Learn these drugs by their real names and discover how they affect the body.

Club Drugs

Clubs can be exciting places with pounding music, non-stop dancing and wild lighting effects. But, they also create an environment that invites risky behaviors, such as drug use. Club drugs are relatively new forms of recreational drugs that can alter a person's mood, awareness and actions. In this lesson, we'll describe how five common club drugs affect your body, including GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, methamphetamines and MDMA.


GHB or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid is a central nervous system depressant. This drug was originally used in a medical setting to treat patients with narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder characterized by a tendency to fall asleep suddenly.

However, the drug has since gained popularity as a club drug. This drug typically comes in a liquid form. The liquid is odorless, tasteless and colorless, which means it can be snuck into a person's drink without them knowing it. Because of how difficult it is to detect, GHB is commonly referred to as a date-rape drug. Once it is ingested, the drug causes a person to become drowsy, forgetful, sedated and incapacitated, which makes it difficult for them to ward off unwanted sexual advances.


The drug flunitrazepam, which goes by the brand name rohypnol, is a sedative-hypnotic drug. It is a benzodiazepine, which means it is a class of drug that acts as a tranquilizer. It has been used in the medical treatment of anxiety and as preoperative anesthesia; however, it's not legally available in the United States.

Rohypnol is typically taken orally as a pill but can be ground up and ingested. Like GHB, Rohypnol is odorless, tasteless and colorless, making it another common date-rape drug. It will cause similar effects to that of GHB, meaning it causes a person to feel drowsy, forgetful, sedated and incapacitated due to a loss of muscle control.


Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, which causes a person to be awake but have difficulty processing information. In other words, they disassociate or feel detached from the world around them. Ketamine may be used in hospitals for sedation and pain relief and is often used in veterinary medicine. However, in clubs, it's known as 'special' K and snorted or injected to create a high. Ketamine puts a person into a type of dream-like state and may cause a person to hallucinate.


Methamphetamine, also known as 'crystal meth' or simply 'meth', is an amphetamine derivative, which means it has very similar stimulant affects to the type of drugs called amphetamines. Methamphetamine in powder form can be snorted, ingested or injected with a needle. Crystal meth is a white crystalline drug that is easily manufactured by amateurs in what is commonly referred to as a 'meth lab.' In crystalline form, the drug can be taken in a number of ways, including injection, snorting and smoking.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant, so a person initially experiences a stimulating rush, but it's not uncommon for a meth user to experience wide mood swings, which lead them to becoming highly agitated and even violent. The dangerous and violent behavior experienced by someone taking methamphetamines is referred to as tweaking. In this state, a person may experience hallucinations, become delusional and feel highly paranoid. The effects of meth are long lasting, which can cause a person to stay awake for days at a time.

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