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Raves, nightclubs, bars, dances, and parties are places young people go for fun and good times. But today's fun places often carry an added dimension of danger and risk-the use of Ecstasy, Roofies, Georgia Home Boy, and Special K-all street names for club drugs. Kids are using club drugs at raves and parties to get high and young women are sometimes given the drug with the intent of date rape.
Parents know they need to talk to their kids about drugs-marijuana, cocaine, heroin-but club drugs are a dangerous and growing problem that many parents don't know about. Because the physical effects are mild in the beginning, many kids think club drugs are "fun drugs" and are harmless. One of the biggest dangers is that club drugs are created in illegal laboratories, and are often contaminated with life-threatening additives, so the user doesn't know what he or she is taking. Here's what parents should know and communicate with their kids about general risks of taking club drugs.
* Ecstasy (MDMA). (Other slang names: XTC, Adam, Clarity, Hug Drug, Lover's Speed) Ecstasy, usually taken as a tablet or capsule, creates feelings of euphoria, alertness, and energy and allows users to dance for extended periods. Using ecstasy may lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, and heart and kidney failure. Frequent use can cause long-lasting damage to brain cells that may affect memory. After the high is over, users often feel depressed and take more drugs to extend the high.
* GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate). (Other slang names: Grievous Bodily Harm, G, Liquid Ecstasy, Georgia Home Boy) GHB sedates the central nervous system. At high doses it can slow breathing and heart rate to dangerous levels. Overdose of GHB can occur quickly and is characterized by drowsiness, nausea, loss of consciousness, loss of reflexes, and impaired breathing.
* Special K (Ketamine). (Other slang names: K, Vitamin K, Cat Valiums) Ketamine is an anesthetic that can be used safely only in medical settings. However, some young people abuse ketamine by taking dangerously high doses, which cause dream-like states and hallucinations. At high doses, ketamine can cause amnesia, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.
* Roofies (Rohypnol®). (Other slang names: Rophies, Roche, Forget-me Pill) Rohypnol® (flunitrazepam) is used in other countries as a sedative and a treatment for insomnia. It is tasteless and odorless and dissolves easily in carbonated beverages. It causes profound memory loss and has been used in sexual assaults. Other effects include decreased blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, and drowsiness.
Remember, you don't have to know the answer to every question your kids ask. One of the most important things you can do is just to start an ongoing dialogue about drug abuse.
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