Designer Drugs: Composition, Therapeutic use, Treatment. Designer Drugs effects. Reactions with other drugs.
Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 2:34 pm
Official names: 2C-B (4-bromo-2,5 dimethoxyphenethylamine)
Street names: Nexus, 2C-B, bromo, toonies, performax 2’s, spectrum, synergy, venus, Eve, erox, zenith, cloud nine, Utopia, cee-beetje, afterburner, bromo mescaline
Drug classifications: Schedule I, synthetic hallucinogen
Official names: 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
Street names: Ecstasy, E, X, XTC, Adam, Eve, hug, beans, love drug
Drug classifications: Schedule I, hallucinogen
Official names: Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
Street names: Liquid x, Georgia home boy, goop, gamma-oh, grievous bodily harm
Drug classifications: Schedule I, hallucinogen
Official names: Ketamine hydrochloride (brand names include Ketaject, Ketaset and Ketalar)
Street names: K, ket, quick, lady K, special K, vitamin K
Drug classifications: Schedule III, dissociative anesthetic
Official names: Methamphetamine
Street names: Crystal, speed, meth, chalk, ice, glass
Drug classifications: Schedule II, stimulant
Official names: Phencyclidine (PCP)
Street names: Angel dust, ozone, wack, rocket fuel, embalming fluid, fry, formaldehyde, wet, water, amp, hog
Drug classifications: Schedule II, hallucinogen
2C-B (NEXUS): A synthetic hallucinogenic gaining wider illicit use as a stronger but shorter-lasting alternative to MDMA.
DXM (DEXTROMETHORPHAN): Easily synthesized dissociative psychedelic found in some cough medicines, used illicitly for numbing and hallucinogenic properties.
GHB (GAMMA HYDROXYBUTYRATE): Originally sold in health food stores as a growth hormone, a liquid nervous depressant touted for its ecstasy-like qualities. Banned by the FDA in 1990, the respiratory depression it can cause makes it among the most dangerous club drugs in circulation.
KETAMINE: An anesthetic abused for its mind-altering effects that is popular as an illicit club drug. It is sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault, or date rape.
LSD (D-LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE): A powerful chemical compound renowned for its hallucinogenic properties.
Known as ecstasy, E and X, MDMA is the most popular of the “club drugs,” a synthetic stimulant with mild hallucinogenic properties.
METHAMPHETAMINE (CRYSTAL): An amine derivative of amphetamine, used in the form of its crystalline hydrochloride as a central nervous system stimulant. It is often illicitly produced in secret labs.
An unstable by-product common to PCP’s illicit manufacture; when smoked, PCC releases hydrogen cyanide, which is inhaled by the user.
PCP (PHENCYCLIDINE): Also known as angel dust, a powerful and toxic synthetic chemical developed in home laboratories.
PMA (PARAMETHOXYAMPHETAMINE): Highly toxic hallucinogenic compound linked to sudden collapse and seizures, structurally similar to MDMA and occasionally substituted as such.
ROHYPNOL (FLUNTRAZEPAM): An overseas prescription sleeping aid that, in lower doses, gives users a feeling similar to alcohol intoxication; also used as a date rape drug.
Illicit drugs that fall under the heading of designer drugs encompass substances originally manufactured to have the same or more potent effects of illegal drugs, but which were chemically distinctive and, thus, not technically illegal. Their creation, traffic, and use were designed to sidestep the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) that banned the illegal sale of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens.
Before the advent of so-called designer drugs, substances were explicitly banned by law or not technically illegal. The underground chemists knew that, by changing base ingredients or otherwise modulating the chemical structure of drugs, they could create completely new compounds called analogs that are different enough from controlled substances that they would not violate the law, yet close enough to produce many of the same effects.
Finally, in the mid-1980s, the U.S. government added designer drugs to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) list of controlled substances. The DEA also took exception to the phrase “designer drug,” suggesting the use of the technically more precise phrase of “controlled substance analogs” (CsA).
The surge in CsA use in the United States, particularly among teens, is tied by many experts to the growth and influence of “raves” or “trances,” large, all-night dance parties that cater to young audiences. Rave society is richly developed with dominant and reinforcing styles of music, dance, cultural mood, and expression. It also supports a social environment that encourages the liberal experimentation of drugs to heighten or deepen the event experience.
It is important to note from the outset that not all “club drugs” or “rave drugs” are designer drugs, although the terms are often used synonymously. Though the use of Rohypnol at raves is well documented, for example, it is a prescription sleeping aid sold overseas, and the cultural histories and usage patterns of drugs such as LSD and mescaline are quite distinct from the designer drug phenomenon.
This Overview will therefore focus on the following substances and narrow discussion of their use primarily to the club environments where they are most used and abused. These drugs include: ecstasy (MDMA), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), ketamine (special K), methamphetamine (crystal), 2C-B (nexus), and phencyclidine (PCP).