“Club drugs” are so called because of their popularity on the club scene. These drugs tend to be psychoactive in nature and are often used by teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties. While drugs such as ecstasy, Rohypnol, and ketamine have been used in the past, new drugs and new variations of drugs keep coming out. 

Many club drugs are also known as “designer drugs” because many are man-made and manufactured, rather than found in or derived from nature. This means that they are chemically created by people, rather than grown like marijuana or opiates.

Are Club Drugs Illegal?

Most club drugs are illegal, and can cause serious illness, injury, or even death. These drugs can be unpredictable in their effects, and may include different ingredients than the user anticipates. 

Many of the drugs may look like prescription medicines and appear to be safe. However, some people may take them without knowing exactly what is in the drug or that it is combined with other drugs that can be dangerous. 

What Types of Drugs Count as Club Drugs? What are Their Effects?

The most popular club drugs include MDMA (ecstasy), Rohypnol, GHB, flakka, ketamine, and LSD. Each drug has different effects, and everyone reacts differently to club drugs (which is why they can be so dangerous). Symptoms can vary depending on the person, the drug, the dosage, and whether other materials or ingredients were added to the drug.

Some common types of club drugs include:

  • Ecstasy: Ecstasy (also known as “X,” “E,” and “MDMA”) is the common or street name for a hallucinogenic methamphetamine derivative. It is often used at parties because its stimulant and psychedelic effects allows party-goers to dance and remain active for long periods of time;
  • Rohypnol: Rohypnol is a sedative, legally available for prescription in over 50 countries outside the U.S. and used for deep sedation. The drug has become infamous for its use in the commission of sexual assaults, and is also referred to as a “roofie”;
  • GHB: In low doses, GHB has been used as an experimental treatment for narcolepsy, with sedative effects similar to Rohypnol. However, it has also earned a reputation as a club drug. It is available in a colorless, tasteless liquid form as well as a white powder material, and frequently combined with alcohol to heighten its effects. Along with Rohypnol, GHB has earned a reputation for its use in sexual assault and rape. However, it is also occasionally used by bodybuilders and athletes for its alleged anabolic effects; and
  • Ketamine: Also known as “Special K” or “Vitamin K,” ketamine is a powerful sedative, derived from PCP, that is commonly used on animals at veterinary hospitals. Effects begin within minutes of taking the drug, and can last up to an hour depending on the person and the dosage. 
    • Liquid ketamine can be added to drinks or smokeable materials (such as tobacco or marijuana), or injected. Powdered ketamine can also be added to drinks, smoked, or dissolved and then injected. Effects of ketamine use include dream-like states and hallucinations. Long-term effects of ketamine abuse have not yet been thoroughly studied. However, it has been suggested that certain symptoms may recur even without the use of the drug, and psychosis may occur with chronic use.

What are the Penalties for the Possession or Sale of Club Drugs?

Club drugs are relatively new on the scene when it comes to the wide view of drug use and illegal drugs. However, many states have been building frameworks for how to handle criminal violations regarding the sale and possession of GHB, ketamine, ecstasy, and Rohypnol. While each state has its own rules regarding drug crimes and possession, the maximum prison term for sale and possession of these club drugs can be as much as life in prison. Not only that, but you may find yourself facing both state and federal drug charges.

There is no form of legal ecstasy possession in the United States. Even small amounts will land you in trouble with the law. How much trouble depends on the amount in your possession. While small amounts may result in misdemeanor charges, possession of 25 grams or more can result in a felony charge, with fines of up to $1 million dollars and a prison sentence of over a year.

Depending on the state you live in, maximum penalties can include the following:

  • For sale and possession of ketamine: life in prison (for sale) and 20 years in prison (for possession);
  • Maximum fines of $750,000 for the sale of Rohypnol, GHB, and ketamine; ad
  • Maximum fine of $1 million for the sale of ecstasy.

Maximum fines for possession of club drugs are more varied, but still carry some weight:

  • $500,000 for illegal possession of ketamine;
  • $600,000 for possession of GHB;
  • $750,000 for Rohypnol; and
  • $1 million for possession of ecstasy.

Of course, depending on the laws of your state, you may face a combination of fines and prison time for sale and/or possession of these drugs. If you are facing sale or possession charges, you will find it helpful to discuss your individual case with a qualified attorney.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer for Help with Club Drug Issues?

If you are facing charges related to club drugs, you should talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer for advice on your case. The right lawyer can give you sound advice and explain what to expect going forward in your case. Your lawyer can also help you protect your rights and represent you in court, helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.