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Club Drugs

Summary of Findings

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), emergency department (ED) visits attributable to club drugs are relatively rare. ED visits for some, but not all, club drugs increased significantly from 1994 to 1999.

Among the club drugs discussed in this report, methamphetamine accounts for the largest share of DAWN ED mentions and is most frequent in metropolitan areas in the western U.S.

LSD is the next most common in ED mentions, followed by GHB, MDMA (Ecstasy), Rohypnol, and Ketamine.

ED episodes involving club drugs usually involve multiple substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, and other club drugs. Alcohol is a particularly common factor in these ED episodes.

ED episodes related to GHB, Ketamine, and MDMA increased significantly from 1994 to 1999, and GHB and MDMA mentions increased dramatically from 1997 to 1999.

An apparent increase in Rohypnol mentions was not statistically significant. That is, the variability in Rohypnol estimates from 1994 to 1999 is likely due to random fluctuation.

Young people are disproportionately represented in ED visits involving club drugs.

Deaths associated with club drugs other than methamphetamine are quite rare in DAWN data.

Cumulatively, 2601 deaths associated with methamphetamine abuse, 46 deaths associated with Ketamine and 27 with MDMA were reported by participating medical examiners over the 5-year period from 1994 to 1998. There were no notable increases in deaths involving club drugs from 1994 to 1998.