The Persistent Problem With Party Drugs and How to Protect Yourself

If you tend to like spending time in public social settings and party atmospheres, especially at night, you may have encountered party drugs. Party drugs, also known as club drugs, are a common fixture in party-type social settings. While often sensationalized in movies and TV shows, party drugs can be harmful to your physical and mental well-being. Moreover, party drugs can put you in dangerous situations.

What Are Party Drugs?

According to MedlinePlus, party drugs are a group of psychoactive drugs that target your central nervous system. When a party drug hits your central nervous system, it can cause changes in your mood, your sense of awareness, and your behavior. This collection of psychoactive substances is most often found in social settings like high school and college parties, bars, nightclubs, raves, and concerts.

What Substances Are Party Drugs?

You may wonder what substances are considered party drugs. Some of the most common club drugs include:

  • MDMA, known as ecstasy and molly
  • GHB, known as G and liquid ecstasy
  • Ketamine, known as K or special K
  • Rohypnol, known as roofies
  • Methamphetamine, known as speed, ice, and meth
  • LSD, known as acid

There are a wide variety of party drugs. Many of them have hallucinogenic and mood-altering effects that can contribute to impaired awareness and judgment.

The Dangers of Party Drugs

Mind- and mood-altering effects of party drugs can be incredibly dangerous to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Furthermore, party drugs can include date-rape drugs like roofies. These are used to put someone in an altered state, often to make it easier to sexually assault them.

Party Drug Statistics

As listed by the Alcohol and Other Drugs Services (AOD) from Grand Valley State University, below are some of the statistics on the prevalence of party drugs and the harm they can cause:

  • In 2011, there were 22,500 medical emergencies due to ecstasy.
  • 44% of men and 56% of women have reported having their drink spiked. 
  • 52% of people reported that their first experience of having their drink spiked occurred in college.

Moreover, as stated in The Indian Journal of Medical Research, polysubstance abuse, or using multiple substances at once, is common with party drugs. Party drugs are most often used in combination with alcohol and marijuana. In addition, these substances are found to be among the most common ones listed by young adults seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD).

The statistical prevalence of party drugs may seem small in comparison to the “good” or perceived fun you have seen in movies and TV shows or even the positive things you may have heard from friends. You may know someone who raves about the euphoric feeling they got from dropping acid or how much energy they had on speed. However, the unhealthy and dangerous short- and long-term consequences of the use of party drugs far outweigh the temporary benefits.

Effects of Party Drugs

As noted by the AOD, party drugs like ecstasy, hallucinogens, and date-rape drugs can cause a wide variety of physical, psychological, and situational harm. Below are some of the effects of each of these drugs:


  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in mood
    • Anxiety 
    • Panic
    • Paranoia
    • Depression 
    • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Sleep issues
  • Weight loss


  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
    • Auditory
    • Visual 
    • Physical
  • Changes in mood
    • Panic 
    • Anxiety
    • Paranoia
    • Depression
  • Distorted reality
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness

Date-Rape Drugs

  • Dizziness 
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired judgment
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness and unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing

The possibility of encountering party drugs, especially date-rape drugs, when you just want to have fun likely feels scary and frustrating. However, there are ways to have a healthy social life, spend time with friends, and have fun without the danger of party drugs.

Safety Tips

Listed below are some steps you can take to stay safe from party drugs:

Before You Go Out

  • Always make a safety plan
  • Make sure your phone is charged
  • Ensure you have enough funds to leave if you feel unsafe
  • Do not go out with people you do not know or trust
  • Eat before you go out


  • Never leave your food or drinks unattended
  • Do not accept drinks from other people
  • Always open your own beverages
  • Stick with friends you trust and look out for each other
  • Even if someone seems friendly or you have hung out a few times, be conscious of who you are spending time with
  • Avoid secluded places, especially by yourself
  • Clearly and firmly communicate what you are and not comfortable with
  • Trust your instincts if someone or a situation feels off
  • Take steps to ensure your safety
    • Ask for help
    • Scream if needed
    • Be specific about what is happening
    • Call 911

End of the Night

  • Do not leave with people you do not know
  • Have an exit plan when you are ready to leave
  • Trust your instincts

The Benefits of Recovery

If you or someone you love has developed SUD due to party drugs, you are not alone. Statistics show that 13.8% of young adults consume an unhealthy amount of alcohol and that 13% have SUD. However, with the support of our incredible staff at 12 South Recovery, you can recover and start building a healthier life. 

How you experience the world is unique to you, so our treatment plans are designed with a client-centered approach in mind. We can support you with a treatment plan built around your needs, whether you need to detox or you are ready to start working on your mental health with our evidence-based practices. The work we do at 12 South Recovery is based on a client-centered approach because supporting you means treating the whole person.

Party drugs can be harmful to your physical and psychological well-being. However, you can stay safe and still have fun when you build a safety plan for your and your loved ones’ well-being. If you are dealing with co-occurring SUD from party drugs and other substances, you can start building a healthier you with support from clinical staff. At 12 South Recovery, we believe in providing client-centered care and a variety of therapeutic techniques to support your specific needs. We know that SUD is often co-occurring, so we work with you to design a treatment plan that considers how your experiences and other mental health disorders impact you. Call us today at 866-839-6876 to start your recovery journey.

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