The term “party drugs” loosely classifies a number of drugs. As the name implies, the drugs in this category are commonly distributed and consumed in parties. The exact substances that fall under this category aren’t entirely set in stone, but some of the most common are ecstasy, LSD/acid, ketamine, and amphetamines. This group contains a variety of different substances, with some similar effects and some completely different.
Also known as Molly or MDMA, ecstasy is the first in this list. Often appearing as pills or small tablets, ecstasy produces effects similar to both hallucinogens and stimulants. In short, this substance can cause hallucinations, but also produces a boost of energy.
Side Effects & Addiction Potential
Because ecstasy is so similar to stimulants, it shares a number of the health effects:
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- Panic attacks
Additionally, the environment in which ecstasy is taken can increase the number of health effects as well as the risks. The high-energy environment of a party often causes raised body temperature, which can lead to a series of additional health risks when combined with ecstasy:
- Muscle breakdown
- Kidney failure
- Brain swelling
- Long-term heart problems
The way in which ecstasy affects the brain is similar to many other addictive substances, something that tests on animals have also suggested that it may be. As of the present, physical addiction to ecstasy has yet to be proven to exist. However, individuals may still develop a psychological addiction.
The next substance, known as LSD or acid, is one of the most common hallucinogens. LSD usually appears as small paper stamps, tablets, or a clear liquid. In general, LSD interferes with an individual’s ability to perceive reality. This can lead to a number of side effects:
- Rapid mood swings
- Inability to think clearly
- Raised blood pressure
- Inability to communicate
Similar to ecstasy, LSD can cause the user’s body temperature to increase. In a heated environment like a party, this can be especially dangerous, and can cause dehydration, confusion, or unconsciousness.
Taking too much LSD can be unpredictable, and can lead to permanent problems. One collection of cases showed that overdosing on LSD was not fatal, but another series of recorded overdoses showed a trend in bleeding, coma, and hyperthermia (increased body temperature). Some individuals also experienced trouble breathing. In general, overdosing on LSD results in negative health effects, some as bad as a coma.
Another hallucinogen, ketamine induces an intense state of dissociation. Effectively, this drug causes individuals to experience an altered state of reality, often feeling as though they are out of their own body. While it can be medically applied as an anesthetic, ketamine is often misused in party environments. In general, it has similar physical effects to other hallucinogens, like LSD.
Because ketamine also causes a depressant effect and can cause short-term memory loss in the user, it can be particularly dangerous. When taken unknowingly, ketamine can facilitate sexual assault.
Additionally, ketamine is one hallucinogen that can be addictive. If a dependence forms, the individual can risk overdosing. A research study done on ketamine showed the varied negative effects of a ketamine overdose:
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart attack
- Coma or seizure
Many of these alone can be fatal, and in a chaotic environment like a party, they can be especially dangerous.
This category of drugs includes several different substances, usually prescription drugs like Adderall or Dexedrine. In general, amphetamines stimulate the user, and increase heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Amphetamines are also extremely addictive due to their effect in the brain. They are often included with ‘party drugs’ because of their ease of access, and for their energy-boosting effects. However, there are also many health effects that amphetamines cause:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased pulse
- Decreased appetite
- Inability to sleep (Insomnia)
Overdoses on amphetamines can also be fatal, and often manifest as:
- Raised body temperature
Just like ecstasy, the high blood pressure and body temperature caused by amphetamines can be particularly dangerous in a high-energy party environment.
The Risk of Party Drugs
A lot of the danger that comes from party drugs is within the unknown. While an individual may think they are taking ecstasy, they may actually be taking an entirely different substance. This can lead to unexpected side effects and dangerous behavior. Even if an individual thinks they know what to expect when taking a certain substance at a party, they can’t know for sure the purity of the substance.
The factor of the unknown can be particularly threatening. If an individual is exhibiting signs of an overdose, they may not be immediately evident, since it’s not entirely clear what kind of substance they took.
The intense chaos that can emerge during a party may also lead to dangerous scenarios. An individual may be at higher risk of overdose simply because they lose track of how much of a drug they’ve already taken. Additionally, mixing almost any substance with alcohol can have devastating consequences.
If you or a loved one is in need of help for substance abuse or addiction, contact us today.