Club drugs, also called rave drugs, are a loosely defined category of recreational drugs which are associated with discothèques in the 1970s and dance clubs, parties, and raves in the 1980s to the 2000s. Unlike many other categories, such as opiates, which are established according to pharmaceutical properties, club drugs are a "category of convenience" which includes drugs ranging from entactogens and inhalants to stimulants and psychedelics. Dancers at all-night parties have used these drugs for their stimulating or psychedelic properties. "Club drugs" vary by country and region; in some areas, even opiates such as heroin have been sold at clubs, though this practice is relatively uncommon.
Examples of drugs typically categorized as club drugs include MDMA (ecstasy), various amphetamines and the depressant GHB (also a date rape drug) and the dissociative anesthetic ketamine. 'Poppers' is the street name for a group of simple alkyl nitrites (the most well-known being amyl nitrite), which are clear, yellow volatile liquids which are inhaled for their intoxicating effects. Nitrites originally came as small glass capsules that were popped open, which led to the nickname "poppers." The drug became popular in the US first on the disco/club scene of the 1970s and then at dance and rave venues in the 1980s and 1990s. The "club drugs" vary by country and region. In Delaware, heroin (and many other drugs) are sold at clubs and at raves. Though far less common than other "club drugs" like MDMA, ketamine, or LSD, heroin can be found in some of New York's clubs.
Although the previously mentioned selection of drugs are generally categorized as club drugs by the media and the United States government, this distinction probably does not have an accurate correlation to real usage patterns. For example, alcohol is generally not included under the category of club drugs, even though it is probably used more than any other drug at clubs. Ketamine has long history of being used in clubs and was one of the most popular substances used in the New York Club Kid scene. Ketamine produces a dissociative state, characterized by a sense of detachment from one's physical body and the external world which is known as depersonalization and derealization. Effects include hallucinations, changes in the perception of distances, relative scale, color and durations/time, as well as a slowing of the visual system's ability to update what the user is seeing.
In the 2000s, synthetic phenethylamines such as 2C-I, 2C-B and DOB have been referred to as club drugs due to their stimulating and psychedelic nature (and their chemical relationship with MDMA). By late 2012, derivates of the psychedelic 2C-X drugs, the NBOMes and especially 25I-NBOMe, had become common at raves in Europe.
In the mid- to late-1970s disco club scene, there was a thriving drug subculture, particularly for drugs that would enhance the experience of dancing to the loud dance music and the flashing lights on the dancefloor, such as cocaine (nicknamed "blow"), amyl nitrite ("poppers"), MDMA, Amphetamine, and the "...other quintessential 1970s club drug Quaalude, which suspended motor coordination." According to Peter Braunstein, "massive quantities of drugs were ingested in discothèques."
- *Erowid reference 6889
- Gootenberg, Paul (1954). Between Coca and Cocaine: A Century or More of, pp. 119–150. He says that, "The relationship of cocaine to 1970s disco culture cannot be stressed enough; ...".
- Amyl, butyl and isobutyl nitrite (collectively known as alkyl nitrites) are clear, yellow liquids which are inhaled for their intoxicating effects. Nitrites originally came as small glass capsules that were popped open. This led to nitrites being given the name 'poppers' but this form of the drug is rarely found in the UK The drug became popular in the UK first on the disco/club scene of the 1970s and then at dance and rave venues in the 1980s and 1990s. Available at: http://www.drugscope.org.uk/druginfo/drugsearch/ds_results.asp?file=%5Cwip%5C11%5C1%5C1%5Cnitrites.html
- http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1999/7/1999_7_43.shtml – 76k -