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What are Club Drugs?

MDMA (ecstasy), Rohypnol, GHB, flakka, and ketamine are among the drugs used by teens and young adults who are part of a nightclub, bar, rave, or trance scene.

  • Ecstasy: Producing both stimulant and psychedelic effects, MDMA is often used at parties because it enables party-goers to dance and remain active for long periods of time. This substance is usually ingested in tablet form, but can also be crushed and snorted, injected, or used in suppository form.
  • Rohypnol: Rohypnol, a sedative/tranquilizer, is legally available for prescription in over 50 countries outside of the U.S. and is widely available in Mexico, Colombia, and Europe. Although usually taken orally in pill form, reports have shown that some users grind Rohypnol into a powder and snort the drug. As a tasteless and odorless potent depressant, this drug has become popular in the commission of sexual assaults, and is commonly referred to as "ruffies."
  • GHP: GHB, available in an odorless, colorless liquid form or as a white powder material, is taken orally, and is frequently combined with alcohol. In addition to being used to incapacitate individuals for the commission of sexual assault/rape, GHB is also sometimes used by body builders for its alleged anabolic effects.
  • Ketamine: The abuse of ketamine, a tranquilizer most often used on animals, became popular in the 1980s, when it was realized that large doses cause reactions similar to those associated with the use of PCP, such as dream-like states and hallucinations. The liquid form of ketamine can be injected, consumed in drinks, or added to smokeable materials. The powder form can also be added to drinks, smoked, or dissolved and then injected. In some cases, ketamine is being injected intramuscularly.

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

While club drugs have only recently captured the attention of law enforcement agencies across America, many states have been creating a framework for penalizing persons found to be in violation of state law relative to sale and/or possession of GHB, ketamine, ecstasy, and Rohypnol. Across the states, the statutorily imposed maximum imprisonment for the sale and possession of these drugs ranges up to life in prison. The following are some examples of state penalties for the sale and possession of club drugs.

  • Maximum prison periods for sale and possession of ketamine are a life-term and 20 years, respectively
  • Maximum statutorily-imposed fine for the sale Rohypnol, GHB, and ketamine is $750,000 while the maximum fine for ecstasy is $1 million dollars
  • Maximum fines for possession provisions are somewhat more varied:
    - Ketamine: $500,000
    - GHB: $600,000
    - Rohypnol: $750,000
    - Ecstasy: $1 million

Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney about My Involvement or Accusations of Involvement with Club Drugs?

Club drug laws are a relatively recent invention, so there is a high likelihood that most people are not familiar with their jurisdiction's penalties and attitudes toward club drug prosecution. If you find yourself accused or arrested for the sale or possession of a club drug, you may find it helpful and beneficial to contact a criminal defense attorney to advise you through this complicated area of criminal law.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 08-22-2016 02:42 PM PDT

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