166

cover
Title: Club Drugs: Destination X
Author: Jim Parker
Publisher: Do It Now Foundation
Publication Date: Jim Parker
Catalog Number: 166


..Hey! Maybe the X in Generation
X stands for something, after all.

Same for the
Y in Generation Y.

In fact, maybe
the X stands for X-treme chemical curiosity, and the Y for
“Why not?”

That’s one
conclusion you could draw, at least, if you felt the spray off
the latest wave of psychoactive chemicals — including ecstasy, ketamine,
GHB, 2C-B, and others — that crests every night at 11:30 or
so in clubs and raves from coast to coast.

Effects of
the drugs span the gamut — ecstasy can inspire speedy feelings
of empathy, ketamine out-of-body (and out-of-mind) experiences,
GHB a booze-like buzz of bliss and puking, 2C-B giddiness and
hallucinations — and they appeal to way different crowds, too.

All-night ravers
lean towards ecstasy and, increasingly, the old stimulant standby
crystal methamphetamine-which has even lost a few pounds and
powdered over some wrinkles for the occasion. New York clubgoers
like ketamine, dance-club denizens on the West Coast and elsewhere
dig GHB and 2C-B, or “Nexus.”

And while users
claim all sorts of expanded self-awareness from the drugs, others
aren’t so sure that satori can be bought, sold, or borrowed for
20-30 bucks a pop in a nightclub john or a corner of an abandoned
warehouse, whether there happens to be a thousand sweaty bodies
trance-dancing and pseudo-humping to the thump of 120-beat-a-minute
techno music next to you or not.

But, hey, like
Dennis Miller used to say (when he was still funny), that’s just
our opinion. We could be wrong.


..Club Drugs Confidential

A lot of strange
stuff has been bubbling up lately in the old club-drugs chemical
cauldron.

In fact, there
are so many new chemicals turning up (and so many pricey, act-alike
herbal products masquerading as real drugs) that it’s tough telling
all the players without a program.

Luckily, you’ve
got a program in your hands, right now.

In it, we’ll
be discussing some of the new (and newly-recycled) drugs that
are popping up on the dance-club and rave scene.

What we won’t
be doing is advocating drug use in general or any chemical in
particular.

We’ve seen
too many lives torn apart in too many ways to endorse the kind
of reckless seat-of-the-pants chemistry experiments that people
run on themselves.

On the other
hand, we know that people will smoke, snort, and swallow just
about everything under the sun and moon in pursuing instant enlightenment
and nocturnal nirvana, no matter what we say. And we’ve seen
lots of lives wrecked from sheer ignorance, too.

That’s why
we put together this pamphlet — because fun really is only one
side of the club-drugs risks/benefits equation.

The other side
is risk, and you need to know as much about that as you can to
avoid as much of it as possible.


..MDMA/Ecstasy

The drug that
did more than any other to kick off the club-drugs phenomenon
is “ecstasy,” or MDMA.

Chemically
related to both methamphetamine and mescaline, it combines properties
of both without the excesses of either, according to users.

That made it
an ideal party drug for lots of people, and it quickly became
a staple at “raves,” the all-night tribal trancedances
that combine high-energy techno music and the peace-and-love
ethic of the new alternative culture.

Users claim
that ecstasy (or “E,” as it’s often called) enhances
empathy and catalyzes the rapturous group consciousness that
raves are meant to embody, without the perceptual and mental
distortions common to such psychedelics as LSD.

On the downside,
“E” has been linked to several deaths in the United
States and Britain, usually brought on by hyperthermia (high
body temperature) and dehydration.

Proponents
claim that risks can be minimized by drinking lots of water (or
other nonalcoholic liquids) and by taking frequent breaks to
avoid overheating during marathon dance sessions.

E
C
S
T
A
S
Y

Chemical name N-methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine
Drug
type
Hallucinogenic amphetamine
Street
name(s)
E, X, XTC, Ecstasy
Duration Effects usually last
4-6 hours, depending on dosage.
Special Considerations Ecstasy rarely causes panic reactions,
but it can cause users to “over-amp” in various ways,
particularly if used during periods of intense physical exertion,
like dancing. Users can guard against dehydration and hyperthermia
(high body temperature) by taking frequent breaks and drinking
plenty of water.


..Ketamine

Ketamine lingered
on the fringes of the drug culture for decades, until it was
dusted off in the early ’90s by Generation X-plorers, impressed
by the sheer freakiness of its effects, who turned it into a
psychedelic standby in raves and dance clubs.

Used medically
as an anesthetic, ketamine differs from other such drugs by stimulating
breathing and heart beat, rather than slowing them down. It’s
also different from other anesthetics (except its chemical cousin,
PCP), in its ability to trigger psychological dissociation, hallucinations,
even out-of-body experiences and near-death-like states.

Still, one
person’s veggie burger is another person’s poison: K’s drawbacks
as a medical drug serve as its drawing cards as a party drug.

At “subanesthetic”
doses (about a tenth of a surgical dose), ketamine triggers major
changes in thought and perception, ranging from closed-eye visual
hallucinations to “profound transpersonal states,”
in the words of one researcher.

Users undergo
a dissolving of normal ego states early in a ketamine experience,
accompanied by a sensation of floating or disconnection from
the body. Also common are feelings of connection with alternate
worlds or parallel dimensions that can seem as real as our own.

The drug can
also cause numbness and incoordination, even a state of “virtual
helplessness” according to a report in the British Medical
Journal.

And while that
may not be a problem if you’re home in bed, it can be something
else altogether at a rave or dance club.

Finally, using
K with alcohol causes vomiting, according to users who presumably
learned the usual way.

K
E
T
A
M
I
E

Chemical name 2-(o-chlorophenyl)-2-(methyl-amino)cyclohexanone
HCL
Drug
type
Dissociative anesthetic
Street
name(s)
K, Special K, Vitamin
K
Duration Effects usually last
about an hour, depending on dosage. Recovery period lasts 90-120
minutes.
Special Considerations Ketamine is extremely unpredictable,
and users can hurt themselves through falls or other accidents.
In the event of panic, reduce stimuli in a quiet, darkened room.



..2C-B

A relative
newcomer on the dance-drug scene, 2 C-B produces a variety of
effects similar to MDMA.

Effects typically
start with an “energy tremor,” or surge, that occurs
during the first 20-30 minutes.

Visual distortions
and hallucinations are common during the plateau phase of the
experience (1-2 hours after ingestion), often accompanied by
feelings of insight and heightened emotional awareness and sensitivity.

Visual effects
associated with 2 C-B include intensification of color and transformation
of everyday objects or scenes into unusual forms.

Other sensory
effects include a heightening of smell, touch, and taste, in
addition to increased response to color and sound.

Although it
has no formally-recognized medical uses, 2C-B has been used by
a number of therapists, often in conjunction with MDMA. It’s
also used at raves and in dance clubs, like ecstasy. And just
as with ecstasy, liquids should be available during use to reduce
the risk of dehydration.

2
C
B

Chemical name 4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine
Drug
type
Phenethylamine
Street
name(s)
Nexus, Utopia, Venus
Duration Varies with dose, but
5-6 hours is common.
Special Considerations Due to its similarity to MDMA, users
should drink plenty of water to reduce risk of dehydration.



..GHB

If you think
ordinary drugs are complex, consider GHB. It’s even got two names,
GHB (its real name) and GBH — a misabbreviation of an early
street name, “Grievous Bodily Harm.” Still, all the
names and letters refer to the same thing: gamma hydroxybutyrate.

A natural component
of normal brain chemistry, GHB was legally available in health
stores for years until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
banned its sale in 1990, due to adverse reactions linked to its
unrestricted use.

Early problems
were mostly minor, but the FDA launched an investigation that
eventually turned up various forms of GHB toxicity. Symptoms
included dizziness, slowed breathing and heart rate, and a “non-rousable”
sleep that’s sometimes mistaken for coma.

As production
sloshed onto the black market (via do-it-yourself “chemical
kits” sold over the internet), both GHB and a legal chemical
precursor, GBL (“Blue Nitro,” “Renewtrient”),
began to be linked to more problems. The most serious was a potentially
life-threatening overdose syndrome, especially when either is
used with alcohol.

Both were also
tied to incidents of drink spiking and date rape-some ending
in death-which fueled passage of a nationwide ban in February,
2000.

Still, GHB
may be as noteworthy for what it symbolizes as for what it is.

Because it
(and chemicals like it) are bubbling away, even as we speak,
in the beakers and brains of Gen-X/Y drug chemists, anxious to
put their mark on the hearts and minds of a generation.

And the only
way we find out whether they succeed or fail is the old-fashioned
way: through trial and error, one side effect — or overdose
— at a time.

G
H
B

Chemical name Gamma hydroxybutyrate
Drug
type
Euphoriant-depressant
Street
name(s)
Liquid E, Liquid X,
“GBH,” “Grievous Bodily Harm”
Duration Depends on dose, but
effects start in 15-30 minutes and can last 2-4 hours.
Special Considerations Because it produces CNS depression, GHB
should not be used with other depressant drugs or alcohol —
a main factor in many adverse reactions. Since liquid GHB is
often sold pre-mixed with juices, dosage can be difficult to
gauge.


..E-ternal truths

To some people,
drugs and sex and rock-n-roll go together like, well, like drugs
and sex and rock-n-roll. That’s been true for a long time. It’s
no surprise that things aren’t different today.

Still, drugs
today are different, and they’re likely to get even more different
in the future.

And in spite
of any hype you’ve heard (or may hear) to the contrary,
one simple fact about drugs has always been true — and probably
always will be.

Here it is:

[Insert drug
name here]  is a powerful chemical that can cause serious
problems if misused or used under the wrong circumstances. And
they can all be misused or used under the wrong circumstances.

It’s been true
a lot longer than sex and drugs and tribal/trance/techno/hip-hop/trip-hop
have gone together: What goes up must come down.

And if you
want to make sure that the law of cosmic-consciousness cause
and effect doesn’t come crashing down on you when you least expect
it — or are least prepared to deal with it — you’d better remember
it.


..Sidebar | Obey
Your Thirst: Technotrip Tips

Given all the
hype that raves and Generation-X/Y drug habits have garnered,
it’s almost surprising that so few serious health problems have
turned up or have been linked to the drugs.

One reason
is dosage. Club drugs tend to be safer than the rock-n-roll drugs
of a generation ago because they’re typically sold at lower dosage
levels and are thus more easily managed.

Take LSD. (Well,
don’t actually take it, but consider it, at least.) If it were
a beer, they might call it “Acid Lite.”

Doses today
average 30-50 micrograms-down considerably from the 200 mcg-plus
trips of a generation ago. The result? A much less intense, panic-driven
experience, and fewer freakouts.

Still, there
are problems in Raver City: Hyperthermia (dangerously high body
temperature) for one. Deaths have been reported at raves in England
and the United States, linked to the combined effects of high
body temperature and dehydration with hours of E-inspired dancing
in often-overheated rooms.

That’s why
it’s so important for Destination X-ers to drink lots of water-it
helps both to replenish fluids and provides an occasional break
from the nonstop exertion of dancing. Still, there’s no need
to overdo it; drinking too much water can cause serious physical
problems, too.

And it’s also important for rave
promoters to provide “chill out” rooms, smart-drug
and juice bars, or plenty of plain old H20 for those who need
it — and everybody needs it, sooner or later, in one way or
another.


This is one in a series of publications
on drugs, behavior, and health by Do It Now Foundation.
Please call or write for a complete list of available titles,
or check us out online at
www.doitnow.org.


 

logoplus.gif

Feedback

And if you want to get your personal point across to us, click here or on the button at bottom.
And if you’d like to contact us for any other reason,
you’ll find our mailing address, phone, and fax numbers there, too.