Lovers of electronic dance music (“EDM”) flock to outdoor festivals, concert venues and clubs, where they frequently blend their EDM fixation with club drugs like MDMA, which is an amphetamine variant. MDMA (more commonly known as Ecstasy or “Molly”) is taken orally to create a three-to six-hour sense of energy and euphoria. The drug’s supposed charms are celebrated in some music and popular culture, but its effects can be dangerous and life-threatening. One of the more widely-publicized stories on the dangers of MDMA, for example, reported the death of a 23-year old woman who died in 2012 at an EDM festival in New York City after ingesting six Ecstasy tablets.
MDMA elevates a user’s heart rate and body temperature. Ecstasy users report that the euphoria from an MDMA high gives them a sense that their body rhythms are matching the beat of the music, which explains the connection between music and MDMA use. Other club drugs, including methamphetamines, rohypnol (also known as “roofies”), LSD, and ketamines are also popular in the music scene as users attempt to enhance their enjoyment of the music with heightened sensations and energy levels. These drugs, however, mask a person’s natural defense mechanisms that keep them from injuring themselves.
Ecstasy users report sensations of extreme energy levels and euphoric highs that allow them to remain on a club dance floor for several hours, during which time their heart rates are abnormally high and their body temperatures continue to climb. The drug causes them to ignore natural warning signs to slow down or stop. Ultimately, an Ecstasy user’s organs and internal body systems will shut down, which can lead to serious organ damage or death.
Other club drugs pose their own sets of dangers. Rohypnol, for example, is a depressant that can cause temporary amnesia, leading to its use as a “date rape” drug. Club predators have been known to slip rohypnol into another person’s drink in order to sedate and take advantage of them. Substances such as ketamines and LSD can lead to hallucinations and delirium that can endanger both the user and anyone around him.
The vast majority of club drugs are procured illegally from street vendors. Persons who purchase these drugs have no assurances that they are getting what the vendor claims to be selling to them. Scattered reports have shown that purchasers of Ecstasy have received adulterated MDMA tablets or MDMA doses that have wide variations in quantities of effective ingredients. Other products that street vendors sell as Ecstasy tablets have been shown to be combinations of bath salts with other illicit substances. As with all illegal or controlled drugs, purchasers are taking significant risks when they buy Ecstasy and other substances from street vendors.
The safety perceptions around club drugs are often discounted because those drugs are viewed as being less addictive than other drugs and because the euphoria that they generate is perceived to trump their dangers. Those dangers are very real and, as with all illicit substances, they expose the club drug user to potential chronic organ damage and death.
If you have questions or concerns about your or a friend’s use of club drugs, please contact the Hired Power staff and counselors at 800-910-9299. We will provide all the information you need to make intelligent decisions and choices about club drugs, and we can offer alternatives and suggestions that will allow you to continue enjoying your favorite music apart from using those drugs.
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