COVID-19 may have shut down clubs and bars, but your teen or young adult could be attending a pharm party, increasing their chance of exposure to club drugs. Read our feature outlining and describing the 17 most common party drugs.

Party Drug Overdose and Death Rates

Party drug overdose deaths have been on the rise in the last five years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the following increase in overdose deaths from January 2015 to April 2020:

  • Cocaine – 32 percent increase
  • Psychostimulants – 24 Percent increase

The line graph below provided by the CDC shows these increases.

party drugs

The CDC tracks overdoses by several drug categories. Both cocaine and psychostimulants fall into this group of drugs but are tracked separately.

Cocaine vs Meth: which is worse? Addiction treatment is in reach through our partial hospitalization program. Dial (828) 518-6996 to speak with an Asheville Recovery Center representative to begin your journey. 

Common Party Drugs List

There are three different types of party drugs you may encounter at dance clubs or private home parties, particularly among groups of youth and young adults from age 15 to 24: Stimulants, hallucinogenics/psychoactives, and depressants and/or date rape drugs. 

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic when most clubs and bars are closed, there is still risk of seeing these party pills at what has been called a “pill party” or “pharm party.” 

Some of these drugs appear in pill form even though that may not be the original state of the contents. Some are prescription pills while others are a combination of several drugs. Pills can also be ground into powder for snorting or smoking, made into a liquid for injecting, or dissolved into drinks.

To get specific information based on a pill, powder, liquid, plant material, or otherwise unknown substance, or to familiarize yourself with club drugs, use the DEA’s drug identifier.

In this article, we compare 17 club drugs based on category and type. We include legal psychoactive drugs, legal stimulant drugs, and synthetic party drugs. Not surprisingly, there are a few crossovers between and among categories.

Stimulant Drugs List

  1. Meth
  2. Cocaine and Crack-Cocaine
  3. Amphetamines
  4. Ecstasy, MDMA, and Molly

Natural Plant-Based Psychoactive Drugs List

  1. Mushrooms
  2. Salvia
  3. Peyote
  4. Marijuana

Synthetic Psychoactive Drugs List

  1. Spice or K2
  2. LSD
  3. PCP
  4. Flakka
  5. Bath Salts
  6. Ketamine

Depressants and/or Date Rape Drugs List

  1. Ketamine
  2. Ruffies
  3. GHB
  4. Poppers

Is your teen or young adult attending pharm parties? They could be using one or more party drugs. Call Asheville Recovery Center at (828) 518-6996 to inquire about our addiction treatment services.

Party Drug Comparison Charts

In this ultimate club drugs comparison guide, we examine more closely each of the party drugs by type and compare the following characteristics. 

  • Party drugs chemical names
  • Party drugs street names
  • Forms and methods of use
  • Short term effects of party drugs
  • Overdose symptoms of party drugs
  • Party drug withdrawal symptoms
  • Long term side effects of party drugs

All information provided in the following tables is sourced from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Stimulant Drugs List

Did you know Ritalin is a party drug? Ritalin is a very common household medication and some stimulants are made with a combination of household medications along with some household cleaning products.

What’s scary is that some types of stimulant drugs come in pill form. From there, they can be crushed and snorted, melted and injected, or even just dissolved in water.

Here are examples of the top 4 stimulant drugs often seen at a pill party. Be sure to skim the list of street names for stimulant drugs to familiarize yourself with some keywords you may hear among friends or in passing.

Chemical or Brand NameStreet NamesForms and Methods
Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)Meth, Speed, Ice, Shards, Bikers Coffee, Stove Top, Tweak, Yaba, Trash, Chalk, Crystal, Crank, Shabupowder, pill - smoked, snorted, injected
Cocaine and Crack-CocaineCoca, Coke, Crack, Crank, Flake, Rock, Snow, Soda Cotsnorted, Dissolved in water and injected, Crack cocaine is smoked
Amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin)Bennies, Black Beauties, Crank, Ice, Speed, and Upperspills, powder, rocks, and injectable liquids
Ecstasy, MDMA, and MollyAdam, Beans, Clarity, Disco Biscuit, E, Ecstasy, Eve, Go, Hug Drug, Lover’s Speed, MDMA, Peace, STP, X, and XTCcapsules, powder, and liquid

The stimulant drugs definition is, loosely, a medication or substance that temporarily quickens some vital process or functional activity. That leaves it pretty open to interpretation.

Compare stimulant short-term effects to stimulant overdose symptoms.

DrugShort-term Side EffectsOverdose Symptoms
Methviolent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, mood disturbances, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, rapid breathing and heart rate, increased blood pressure, overheatingstroke, heart attack, or multiple organ problems caused by overheating
Cocaine and Crack-Cocaineincreased blood pressure and heart rate, dilated pupils, insomnia, and loss of appetiteelevated heart rate, rise in body temperature, nausea and vomiting, pain in the chest, tremors, panic, anxiety, delirium, paranoia
Amphetaminesincreased blood pressure and pulse rates, insomnia, loss of appetite, tremors, headache, flushed skin, chest pain with palpitations, excessive sweating, vomiting, abdominal crampsagitation, increased body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, and possible death high fever, convulsions, and cardiovascular
collapse may precede death
Ecstasy, MDMA, and Mollyconfusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, sleep problems, muscle tension, tremors, teeth clenching, nausea, faintness, chills, sweating, blurred vision, severe dehydrationsharp increase in body temperature, liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure

Is alcohol a stimulant? No, technically it’s a depressant; however, alcohol can have adverse effects with some or multiple stimulants. And using stimulants only once can cause awful immediate side effects, not to mention the long-term side effects that sometimes lead to death.

DrugWithdrawal SymptomsLong-Term Side Effects
Methjittery, dehydration, hunger, sleeplessness, fatigue, chills, anxiety, irritability, poor memory, vivid dreamselevate body temperature, convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, extreme anorexia, memory loss, severe dental problems
Cocaine and Crack-Cocainemental and physical exhaustion, sleep, depression lasting several daysirregular heartbeat, heart conditions, cardiac arrest, convulsions, strokes, respiratory syndrome, erosion of the upper nasal cavity.
Amphetaminesdepression, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, trouble concentrating, and increased appetiteschizophrenia, picking at the skin, rumination, hallucinations, aggression, suicidal and homicidal tendencies
Ecstasy, MDMA, and Mollydepression, confusion, anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, memory problems, changes in self-perceptiondamage to the serotonin system, inbility to feel pleasure. problems with memory and learning

Are stimulants psychoactive drugs? They certainly can be if they intensify sights and sounds and distort reality. 

Natural Plant-Based Psychoactive Drugs List

What is a psychoactive drug?

There are natural psychoactive drugs found in nature, particularly in Mexico and China; but they are still a risk considering the ease of smuggling drugs and selling them on the streets in your very own neighborhood.

Unlike stimulants, psychoactive drugs don’t often come in pill form. Natural psychoactive drugs are usually smoked, made into a tea, or extracted oils for vaping.

Here are examples of psychoactive drugs a teen or young adult may encounter, even at a pill party. Be sure to skim the list of street names for psychoactive drugs to make sure you keep your ears perked for some of the psychoactive drug lingo.

Chemical or Brand NameStreet NamesForms and Methods
Psychedelic Mushrooms (Psilocybin)Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms, Mushrooms, Magic Mushrooms, Boomers, Zoomers, Mushies, Simple Simon, Little Smoke, Sacred Mushrooms, Purple Passion, Mushroom Soup, Cubesingested orally, Brewed as a tea, Added to foods to mask the bitter flavor
SalviaMaria Pastora, Sally-D, and Salviachewed, smoked, or vaporized
Peyote (Mescaline)Buttons, Cactus, Mesc, Peyotochewed, teas, powder, capsules, smoked
MarijuanaAunt Mary, BC Bud, Blunts, Boom, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Hydro, Indo, Joint, Kif, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, Yerbasmoked, vaporized, brewed tea, mixed with foods, dabs (smoking and vaping THC-rich extracts)

The psychoactive drugs definition is fairly general: a substance having a profound or significant effect on mental processes. Compare psychoactive short-term effects to psychoactive overdose symptoms.

DrugShort-term Side EffectsOverdose Symptoms
Mushroomsnausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, inability to discern fantasy from reality, panic, psychotic episodeslonger, more intense “trip” episodes, psychosis, poisoning
Salviadisrupt sensory and cognitive functions, loss of coordination, dizziness, slurred speechoverdose is rare
Peyotenausea, vomiting, dilation of the pupils, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, sweating, headaches, muscle weakness, impaired motor coordinationoverdose is rare
Marijuanaproblems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, loss of coordination, Sedation, bloodshot eyes, increased heart rate, coughing from lung irritation, increased appetite, increased blood pressure, agitation, paranoia, confusion, restlessness, anxiety, drowsiness, panic attacks, time distortions, impaired judgment, reduced coordination, dysphoria, disorganized thinkingoverdose is rare, no deaths from overdose reported, deaths may occur from car accidents while using

Psychoactive drugs from plants tend to have milder withdrawal symptoms, but don’t often lead to overdose or death; however, prolonged use of psychoactive drugs can cause brain damage.

DrugWithdrawal SymptomsLong-Term Side Effects
Mushroomsconfusion, difficulty determining realityflashbacks, poisoning
Salviaheadaches, stomach upset, memory issues, sleep disturbances, emotional lowsdepression, schizophrenia, flashbacks
Peyoteunknownpersistent psychosis, mood swings, visual disturbances, paranoia, disorganized thoughts
Marijuanaheadache, shakiness, sweating, and stomach pains, nausea, restlessness, irritability, sleep difficulties, decreased appetiteslowed brain development (teens, young adults, unborn children when used during pregnancy), bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, suppression of the immune system, severe nausea, vomiting, dehydration

You may feel a little more at ease knowing at least some party drugs don’t have the intensity of stimulant drugs. Unfortunately, both professional scientists and amateur scientists have discovered ways to produce the same psychoactive effects but with much more severe consequences.

Synthetic Psychoactive Drugs List

One of the types of psychoactive drugs is synthetic psychoactives. Sadly, unlike your Volkswagen or Audi that requires a very expensive synthetic oil change, synthetic psychoactives are cheaply made and cheaply sold.

A synthetic psychoactive drug can be made with any combination of chemicals, and the day one chemical compound is outlawed, another similar and sometimes more effective compound follows.

Synthetic psychoactives can also be mass-produced, similar to prescription drugs and stimulants. So, now psychoactive drugs are stimulants?

Here are examples of common legal synthetic psychoactive drugs that can be purchased down the street instead of on the street. Be sure to skim the list of street names for synthetic psychoactive drugs to keep an eye out for the wrappers that often say “not for human consumption” with little to no other information provided.

Chemical or Brand NameStreet NamesForms and Methods
Synthetic MarijuanaSpice, K2, Blaze, RedX Dawn, Paradise, Demon, Black Magic, Spike, Mr. Nice Guy, Ninja, Zohai, Dream, Genie, Sence, Smoke, Skunk, Serenity, Yucatan, Fire, Crazy Clownsmoked, vaporized
LSDAcid, Blotter Acid, Dots, Mellow Yellow, Window Panesquare blotter paper, tablets or capsules, occasionally in liquid form
PCP (Phencyclidine)Angel Dust, Embalming fluid, Hog, Rocket Fuel, Sherms, Zoompowder, tablet, capsule, clear liquid - Injected, snorted, swallowed, smoked
Flakka (alpha-PVP)Graveleaten, snorted, injected, vaporized
Bath SaltsBliss, Blue Silk, Cloud Nine, Drone, Energy-1, Ivory Wave, Lunar Wave, Meow Meow, Meph, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight, White Lightningsnorted, orally, smoked, injected
KetamineSpecial K, Cat Valium, Kit Kat, K, Super Acid, Super K, Purple, Special La Coke, Jet, Vitamin Kinjected liquid or snorted powder - mixed in drinks, or smoked

Compare the short term effects and overdose symptoms of synthetic psychoactive drugs with the short term effects and overdose symptoms of natural psychoactive drugs. It’s quickly evident how much more dangerous synthetic drugs can be, especially when there is a loss of perception, space, time, and distance. Many of those who use synthetic psychoactive drugs put themselves and others in harm’s way to include personal injury and accidental or intentional suicide.

DrugShort-term Side EffectsOverdose Symptoms
Spice or K2acute psychotic episodes, intense hallucinations, severe agitation, disorganized thoughts, paranoid delusions, violence, elevated heart and blood pressure, tremors, seizures, vomiting, agitation, anxiety, pallor, numbness, tinglingagitation, anxiety, seizures, stroke, coma, heart attack, organ failure.
LSDdilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, tremorslonger, more intense “trip” episodes, psychosis, death due to personal injury
PCPdelusions, hallucinations, paranoia, problems thinking, anxiety, increased blood pressure and heart rate, shallow breathing, face redness, sweating; numbness of the hands or feet, problems with movementnausea; vomiting; flicking up and down of the eyes; drooling; loss of balance; dizziness; violence; seizures, coma, and death.
Flakkaviolent aggression, jerking of muscle movements, self-injury, elevated heart rate, extreme agitation, delusions of superhuman strength, hyperstimulation, hallucinations, profound paranoiaself-harm, hyperthermia, dehydration, rhabdomyolysis, and eventual kidney failure
Bath Saltsconfusion, acute psychosis, agitation, combativeness, aggressive, violent, self-destructive behaviorrapid heartbeat, hypertension, hyperthermia; prolonged dilation of the pupil of the eye, breakdown of muscle fibers, teeth grinding, sweating, headaches, seizures, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions
Ketamineimmobility, amnesia, agitation, depression, unconsciousness, hallucinations, rapid eye movement, dilated pupils, salivation, tear secretions, stiffening of the musclesunconsciousness, dangerously slowed breathing

Synthetic psychoactive drugs, unlike natural psychoactive drugs, lead to more severe and not-so-pleasant withdrawal symptoms. Both types, though, in teens and young adults especially, can cause memory loss and troubles with learning, and kidney damage on top of that.

DrugWithdrawal SymptomsLong-Term Side Effects
Spice or K2nightmares, heavy sweating, nausea, tremors, headaches, extreme tiredness, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, problems thinking clearlyforgetfulness, confusion, paralysis, kidney injury
LSDunknownpoor judgment, personal injury, acute anxiety and depression, flashbacks, persisting psychosis
PCPheadaches, increased appetite, sleepiness, depressionmemory loss, problems with speech and thinking, loss of appetite, anxiety
Flakkaextreme irritation, mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, insomnia, anxiety, seizurespermanent kidney damage, renal failure, reshaping of the brain, degenerated brain tissue
Bath Saltsanxiety, depression, abnormally low energy levels, inability to feel pleasure, sleep disorders, fatigueincreased blood pressure and heart rate, kidney damage and failure, liver damage, breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, brain swelling and brain death
Ketamineagitation, confusion, psychosis, delusions, hallucination, loss of motor skills, rage, nausea, lung and heart problems, insomnia, shakes, hearing loss, fatigue, cognitive impairmentdecreased sociability, attention dysfunction, impaired memory recall, flashbacks, excess fluid in the kidneys, bladder damage, incontinence

One synthetic psychoactive drug actually falls into the category of depressants and a higher dose is often used as a date rape drug: Ketamine.

Depressants and/or Date Rape Drugs List

Drugs at a pill party aren’t meant for fun if someone doesn’t choose to take a specific party drug. The following drugs are ones found at a party but are used for exploitation of many sorts.

The street names of these types of party drugs may be a little more on the hush-hush, but one manufacturer redesigned the pill to dye a drink blue if unknowingly dissolved in a victim’s drink.

Chemical or Brand NameStreet NamesForms and Methods
KetamineSpecial K, Cat Valium, Kit Kat, K, Super Acid, Super K, Purple, Special La Coke, Jet, Vitamin Kinjected liquid or snorted powder - mixed in drinks, or smoked
Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam)Circles, Forget Me Pill, La Rocha, Lunch Money Drug, Mexican Valium, Pingus, R2, Roach 2, Ruffies, Rophies, Wolfiestablet, swallowed, crushed and snorted, can be dissolved in liquids, when the green version is placed in a light-colored drink, it will dye it blue
GHB (Xyrem)G, Georgia Home Boy, Goop, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Scoop, Liquid Ecstasyliquid or powder in mixed drink
Amyl Nitrates and other InhalantsBold, Laughing Gas, Poppers, Snappers, Whippetsgases or gases from liquids - sniffing, snorting, bagging, or huffing

One depressant, an inhalant, is coined as the “gay party drug.” Poppers are also used at parties when intentions are high and inhibitions are low. Other inhalants are usually common household products that offer a quick, intense high but can cause severe brain damage even in the short term. Overdose symptoms are easy to spot though if teens and young adults are encouraged to stay in pairs at parties.

DrugShort-term Side EffectsOverdose Symptoms
Ketamineimmobility, amnesia, agitation, depression, unconsciousness, hallucinations, rapid eye movement, dilated pupils, salivation, tear secretions, stiffening of the musclesunconsciousness, dangerously slowed breathing
Ruffiesdrowsiness, amnesia, sleep, slurred speech, loss of coordination, confusion, decreased anxiety, amnesia, increased or decreased reaction time, impaired mental functioning and judgment, aggression, weakness, respiratory depressioncombined with alcohol and heroin, can cause severe, sedation, unconsciousness, slow heart rate, and suppression of respiration
GHBdrowsiness, decreased anxiety, confusion, memory impairmentunconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate, slowed breathing, lower body temperature, vomiting, nausea, coma
Poppersslurred or distorted speech, lack of coordination, dizzinessseizures, coma, heart could stop, suffocation

If your teen, young adult, or friend comes home showing any of the following withdrawal symptoms of date rape drugs, having a serious conversation quickly can lead to finding the offender.

DrugWithdrawal SymptomsLong-Term Side Effects
Ketamineagitation, confusion, psychosis, delusions, hallucination, loss of motor skills, rage, nausea, lung and heart problems, insomnia, shakes, hearing loss, fatigue, cognitive impairmentdecreased sociability, attention dysfunction, impaired memory recall, flashbacks, excess fluid in the kidneys, bladder damage, incontinence
Ruffiesflulike symptoms, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, nausea, vomiting, irritability, weight loss, and insomnia, anxietyseizures, behavioral changes, anxiety, and insomnia
GHBvomiting, confusion, delirium, hallucinations, and insomniainsomnia, anxiety, tremors, increased heart rate and blood pressure, psychotic thoughts, skin and eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, incontinence, loss of consciousness, seizures, liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory depression
Poppersnausea, loss of appetite, sweating, problems sleeping, mood changesliver and kidney damage, hearing loss, bone marrow damage, nerve damage, delayed behavioral development, brain damage

We certainly hope you never have to search for drug rehab for teens or young adults. Know that addiction treatment is close by. Call an Asheville Recovery Center representative at (828) 518-6996 to explore addiction treatment options.

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