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Raves and Club Drugs: Tips for Parents of Teens

Have you ever heard of “Raves”?  Raves are high energy, all-night parties that feature hard pounding techno-music and flashing laser lights. They are found in most urban areas and, increasingly, in rural areas throughout the country. The dances are held in clubs, abandoned warehouses, open fields, or empty buildings.

Raves are frequently advertised as “alcohol/drug-free” dances with hired security personnel. However, they are dangerously over crowded events where your teenager can be exposed to rampant drug abuse and a high-crime environment. Numerous overdoses are documented at these dances.

Raves are one of the most popular events where “club drugs” are distributed. Club drugs include Ecstasy, Meth and LSD – just to name a few. Because some of these club drugs are colorless, odorless, and tasteless, they can be added without detection to drinks (e.g., punch, root beer) by people who want to intoxicate or sedate others in order to commit sexual assaults.

Rave promoters capitalize on the effects of club drugs. Bottled water and sports drinks are sold at (often at inflated prices) to manage dehydration and hyperthermia. Pacifiers that prevent involuntary teeth clenching, chemical lights, menthol nasal inhalers, neon glow sticks and surgical masks are used to increase sensory perception and enhance the Rave experience. Also, “cool down rooms” are provided (usually at a cost) as a place to cool off due to increased body temperature of the drug abuser.

Here’s a list of the main club drugs currently in use:

1. Speed, Ice, Chalk, Meth, Crystal, Crank, Fire, Glass— A central nervous system stimulant, often found in pill, capsule, or powder form, that can be snorted, injected, or smoked. The drug’s effects:  Often results in drastic weight loss, violence, psychotic behavior, paranoia, and sometimes damage to the heart or nervous system. Displays signs of agitation, excited speech, lack of appetite, and increased physical activity.

2. Special K, K, Vitamin K, Cat Valium— An injectable anesthetic used primarily by veterinarians, found either in liquid form or as a white powder that can be snorted or smoked, sometimes with marijuana. The drug’s effects: Results in impaired attention, learning, and memory function. In larger doses, it may cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, and depression. Causes reactions similar to those of PCP, a hallucinatory drug.

3. Roofies, Rophies, Roche, Forget-me Pill— Tasteless and odorless sedative, easily soluble in carbonated beverages, with toxic effects that are aggravated by concurrent use of alcohol. The drug’s effects: Can cause decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness, and confusion. Can cause anterograde amnesia, which contributes to Rohypnol’s popularity as a “date rape” drug.

4. Grievous Bodily Harm, G, Liquid Ecstasy, Georgia Home Boy— A central nervous system depressant that is usually ingested in liquid, powder, tablet, and capsule forms. The drug’s effects: Has sedative and euphoric effects that begin up to 10-20 minutes from ingestion. May last up to 4 hours, depending on the dose used. Overdose can occur quickly-sometimes death occurs. Slows breathing and heart rates to dangerous levels. Use in connection with alcohol increases its potential for harm.

5. Ecstasy, E, X, XTC, Adam, Clarity, Lover’s Speed— An amphetamine-based, hallucinogenic type drug that is taken orally, usually in a tablet or capsule form. The drug’s effects: Enables dancers to dance for long periods of time. Increases the chances of dehydration, hyper tension, heart or kidney failure, and increased body temperature, which can lead to death. Lasts 3-6 hours. Long-term effects include confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, paranoia, and loss of memory.

6. Acid, Boomers, Yellow Sunshines— Hallucinogen that causes distortions in sensory perception, usually taken orally either in tablet or capsule form. Often sold on blotter paper that has been saturated with the drug. The drug’s effects: Long-term effects may include persistent psychosis and hallucinogenic persisting perception disorder, commonly known as “flashbacks.” Causes dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, dry mouth, and tremors. Can cause numbness, weakness, and nausea. Are often unpredictable and may vary depending on dose, environment, and the user.

Effects of stimulant club drugs include:
  • Convulsions
  • Dehydration
  • Extreme rise in body temperature
  • Grinding teeth
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired speech
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Uncontrollable movements

Effects of sedative/hallucinogenic club drugs include:
  • Confusion
  • Decreased heart rate (except LSD)
  • Drowsiness
  • Intoxication
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory problems
  • Slow breathing
  • Tremors

Effects common to all club drugs include:
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Panic
  • Loss of memory
  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Drugs, traces of drugs, drug paraphernalia, pacifiers, menthol inhalers, surgical masks, and other such items should be considered indicators of drug use. If you suspect your teenager is using drugs, monitor his or her behavior carefully. Confirm with a trustworthy adult where your teenager is going and what he or she is doing. Enforce strict curfews. If you have evidence of club drug abuse, approach your teen when he or she is sober, and if necessary, call on friends and family members to support you in the confrontation.

Once the drug problem is confirmed, seek the help of a therapist or drug counselor. If your child is under the influence of drugs AND immediate intervention is necessary, consider medical assistance. The county mental health society, school counselors, rape counseling centers, organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, members of the clergy, hospital substance programs, and doctors stand ready and waiting to provide information and intervention assistance.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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