club drugs

Club drug

Club drugs are a loosely-defined category of recreational drugs which are associated with discothèques in the 1970s and dance clubs, parties, and raves in the 1980s to the 2000s. . Unlike many other categories, such as opiates, which are established according to pharmaceutical properties, club drugs are a "category of convenience", which includes drugs ranging from inhalants (nitrous oxide and amyl nitrite "poppers"), stimulants (such as ecstasy and amphetamines) and hallucinogens such as LSD. Dancers at all-night parties use these drugs for their stimulating or psychedelic properties. The "club drugs" vary by country and region; in some areas, even opiates such as heroin and depressants such as ketamine are considered as "club drug".


Examples of drugs typically categorized as club drugs include ecstasy, various amphetamines and less obviously suitable substances like the depressants GHB and ketamine (which do not act as stimulants, but are commonly referred to as club drugs). 'Poppers' is the street name of amyl, butyl and isobutyl nitrite (collectively known as alkyl nitrites), which are clear, yellow volatile liquids which are inhaled for their intoxicating effects. Nitrites originally came as small glass capsules that were popped open, which led to the nickname 'poppers'. The drug became popular in the UK first on the disco/club scene of the 1970s and then at dance and rave venues in the 1980s and 1990s. The "club drugs" vary by country and region. "In Delaware, heroin (and many other drugs) are sold at clubs and at "raves" -- often to very young users. Though far less common than other "club drugs" like MDMA, ketamine, or LSD, heroin can also be found for sale in some New York clubs."

Although the previously mentioned selection of drugs are generally categorized as club drugs by the media and the United States government, this distinction probably does not have an accurate correlation to real usage patterns. For example, alcohol is generally not included under the category of club drugs, even though it is probably used more than any other drug at clubs. Ketamine has long history of being used in clubs and was one of the most popular substances used in the New York Club Kid scene. Ketamine produces a dissociative state, characterised by a sense of detachment from one's physical body and the external world which is known as depersonalization and derealization. Hallucinations and effects include changes in the perception of distances, relative scale, colour and durations/time, as well as a slowing of the visual system's ability to update what the user is seeing. At high doses sounds can be out of sync with the user's visual field. Colors can also turn to sound and sound into color.

In the 2000s, synthetic phenethylamines such as 2C-I, 2C-B and DOB have been referred to as club drugs due to their stimulating and psychedelic nature (and their chemical relationship with MDMA).


In the mid- to late-1970s disco club scene, there was a thriving drug subculture, particularly for drugs that would enhance the experience of dancing to the loud dance music and the flashing lights on the dancefloor, such as cocaine (nicknamed "blow"), amyl nitrite "poppers" , and the "...other quintessential 1970s club drug Quaalude, which suspended motor coordination and turned one’s arms and legs to Jell-O. According to Peter Braunstein, "[m]assive quantities of drugs [were] ingested in discotheques".

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