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Straight, No Chaser: Introduction to Club Drugs – Date Rape and Other Adverse Effects

By Jeffrey Sterling, MD August 11, 2020


A little knowledge goes a long way, particularly when it comes to the habits of teens and young adults. Those who partake in the club scene, parties, concerts or other social settings may find themselves participating in or otherwise subject to psychoactive drugs collectively known as Club Drugs. This Straight, No Chaser provides simple, general questions about these drugs as a group.


What types of drugs are commonly included as Club Drugs?
Ecstacy (MDMA, aka Molly), GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), ketamine and rohypnol (roofies) are some of the more common drugs in this group.

 sex drugs and rock

How are these drugs abused?
These drugs have been used for several purposes, including getting high, enhancing the clubbing experience and date rape. GHB also has muscle-building effects that make it attractive for use by bodybuilders.


What’s dangerous about the use of club drugs?
Several qualities about these drugs are dangerous when consumed in a typically used manner.

  • Some of these drugs are colorless, odorless and tasteless, allowing them to be slipped into beverages (e.g. alcohol) without the person’s knowledge.
  • They are psychoactive, meaning they affect the brain – often in unpredictable ways, but often as a sedative. These sedative effects make the user unable to operate heavy machinery, leading to danger if driving. This effect also makes resistance to physical and sexual assault lowered. All of these lead to your engaging in activities that aren’t safe or in your best interest, some of which may place you at risk for HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
  • Many of these drugs have strong physical and mental addictive properties and can cause withdrawal symptoms. Continued use over time will introduce an entirely new set of health risks and problems into your life.


Are there dangers related to overdosing?
This is a special concern. Many don’t know that they’re taking the drugs and may consume additional substances, intended or not (e.g. alcohol) that interact with and enhance the effects of Club Drugs. These drugs can lead to seizures, high blood pressures, difficulty breathing, date rapes, comas, and death.
What Treatment Options Exist?
Relying on treatment is a dangerous proposition when it comes to Club Drugs.

  • Many patients won’t even know what happened to them.
  • There won’t be evidence that a drug was ingested.
  • They may or may not come to the emergency room (ER) from a club setting.
  • There are no detection tests for some of these drugs in the ER.
  • Symptoms can rapidly escalate from mild to life-threatening.
  • Emergency room personnel may be distracted from the presence of the drug by other considerations, such as treating the physical aspects of a rape or motor vehicle crash.
  • Even if identified, few options exist for many of these drugs beyond treatment to support vital functions.


Then what can I do?
Protect yourself. Here are some simple tips to reduce your risk.

  • Until you know the person you’re with, select less dangerous date settings. A loud and noisy club scene with a lot of attractive, intoxicated people is an ideal place for those looking to take advantage of someone. Select a location where you can be in full control of your mental and physical capacities.
  • Provide others with information or where you are, who you’re with and updates on your activities. This could come in handy if the need arises.
  • The tried and true recommendation regarding Club Drugs is to always be in control of your drink, from the time it’s delivered to the time you’re done. Going to the restroom or on the dance floor? Time it after you’re done with your drink or beverage. The idea of placing a napkin over your drink just isn’t a deterrent to someone who’s considering date rape.

Look for additional information on individual drugs with, and you can always reach out and ask questions at 844-SMA-TALK. Enjoy the party, but be careful out there. You can be safe, smart and fun at the same time.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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