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Network Matters
News and Information for the
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Network

January 2014

Club Drugs: Emerging Trends and Patterns 


Molly, Love Drug, Soap, G, Jet, Ice — these are just a few of the street names for “club drugs” sometimes used by young adults at dance clubs, concerts, bars, and raves. These drugs are popular with teens and young adults for several reasons: they’re low cost, easy to carry and take (coming in the form of small pills, powders, or liquids that can be taken orally), and believed to intensify social interaction and stimulate senses. With many newer club drugs rapidly showing up on the street, family physicians should be aware of emerging trends in club drug use.

Newer club drugs, such as “Molly” and “N-Bomb” have become more popular in recent years. “Molly” refers to the pure crystalline powder of MDMA, which in pill form is known as Ecstasy. Regardless of its form, MDMA can cause confusion, dehydration, depression, and sleep problems, as well as dangerous effects on body temperature that can lead to death.

“N-Bomb” is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen sold as a legal substitute for LSD or mescaline. Generally, this club drug is sold as a powder, liquid, soaked onto blotter paper, or laced onto something edible. More powerful than LSD, small amounts of this drug can cause seizures, heart attack, arrested breathing and death.

Club drugs are often mixed with “fillers,” and unknown substances, that can be harmful to the body. Other commonly used club drugs include methamphetamine, GHB, Rohypnol (“roofies”), and ketamine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers a fact sheet with information on how widely used these drugs are, how they affect the brain and body, and treatment options.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also has an “Emerging Trends” page that includes updated information on patterns in drug use, as well as links for more information. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of club drug use and dependence can include:

  • An exaggerated feeling of great happiness or well-being (euphoria)
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • A heightened or altered sense of sight, sound, and taste
  • Amphetamine-like effects (with ketamine and Ecstasy)
  • Decreased coordination
  • Poor judgment
  • Memory problems or loss of memory
  • Increased or decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Drowsiness and loss of consciousness (with GHB and Rohypnol)

How Optum/United Behavioral Health (Optum/UBH) can help your patients—For complex clinical situations, Optum/UBH is available to provide consultative assistance. Practitioners can call the Optum/UBH Physicians Consultation Service at 800-292-2922. To refer a patient for behavioral health services and to facilitate the coordination of care, call Optum/UBH at 888-777-4742.

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Richard Weisblatt PhD,
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