Party drugs: properties, prevalence, patterns, and problems

Subst Use Misuse. 2005;40(9-10):1203-40. doi: 10.1081/JA-200066736.


This review summarizes the latest literature on "party" or "club" drugs, defined as MDMA, GHB, ketamine, and Rohypnol, as published from 2002 to early 2005. Club drugs have been categorized as being used at raves and dance parties. The literature shows that each drug has different properties, users, and settings. Each drug has different adverse effects and requires different acute care protocols. Although these drugs were identified early, scientific information about them, including the toxicological tests to identify them, is still evolving. Increasing numbers of studies on the short- and long-term effects of these drugs on humans are being published, but because of limitations on research using human subjects, they may not always be as rigorous as desired and can be cited by drug users to discredit findings of harm. The lack of research-based information on these drugs has led to the emergence of web sites that may or may not provide accurate data. Evaluated chemical dependency treatment protocols using the latest research for each of these different drugs are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Dancing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Information Services
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Recreation
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Toxicology


  • Illicit Drugs