Other drugs used on the dance scene
Drugs which produce a speedy effect
Amphetamine (amphetamine sulphate, speed, whizz, billy)
The most widely used dance drug, probably because it is seen as more reliable
than Ecstasy and it is cheaper. Mostly sold in wraps about 10% pure, cut
with filler or sometimes other drugs. Provides energy and is often used
for dancing, carries the same physical dangers as MDMA but is addictive
and may cause amphetamine psychosis. May be responsible for many deaths
attributed to Ecstasy. Energy gained has to be repaid by exhaustion. Overdose
results in feeling irritable and even violent. Lasts 8 hours.
Snorted, bombed (wrapped up in a cigarette paper and swallowed), dabbed
with a finger onto the gums (this eventually rots the teeth), added to a
drink or injected.
Methamphetamine (ice or crystal meth, speed in US)
A more potent relative of amphetamine. Very toxic over 25-30mg. Can be smoked,
snorted or injected. Lasts up to 24 hours. A white crystalline solid. When
heated gives off a vapour which is inhaled.
Cocaine (cocaine hydrochloride, coke, charlie, snow)
Similar to amphetamine in effect but gives a characteristic numbness where
it touches the mouth or throat. Usually snorted up a nostril using a rolled
up banknote. More expensive and less long lasting than amphetamine, which
may account for its luxury image and cocky attitudes of users. Comes on
quickly, but only lasts about half an hour. Became more popular as a dance
drug (particularly in House and Garage clubs) in 1993 when poor quality
Ecstasy flooded the market. May eventually dissolve the division between
Crack cocaine (rocks, freebase)
Derived from cocaine. It is smoked and gives a shorter, bigger burst of
energy but is more addictive. The high is almost instant, but quickly diminishes
and is over in about 10 minutes.
Ephedrine is found in the form of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride in an over-the-counter
drug called Sudafed. About 3 tablets (60 mg each) have a similar effect
to a wrap of speed.
Ephedrine is a prescription drug with a maximum dose of 60 mg, but according
to the British National Formulary an overdose produces restlessness, muscle
spasms, racing heart, dry throat and cold extremities. It is "not recommended
and should be avoided whenever possible". Note that the recreational
dose is several times the prescription dose, and is potentially dangerous
for people with weak hearts.
Physical effects last 3-4 hours with gentle comedown, but you may feel high
for several days.
5 mg white scored tablet marked EVANS.DBS. Consists of dexamphetamine sulphate.
Effect is similar to speed and causes high blood pressure. Should not be
used with MAO inhibitors.
Cat (khat or qat)
A herb (Catha Edulis) that is chewed to produce an amphetamine-like effect.
Somali immigrants use it as a legal high in the UK, and recently also party
goers, although it is illegal in the US and some other countries. It only
works when fresh, so avoid if limp or dried up. The active component Cathinone
or Methcathinone can be derived from the herb.
Poppers (Iso-butyl nitrite)
Legal in Britain, sold in sex shops and some clubs in small bottles. Sniffed
or breathed in open mouth. Gives strong rushes of euphoria for a minute
or two, especially while on E. Can cause black out, headache, nausea and
even heart attacks. Less common is 'English poppers' (amyl nitrate). Traditionally
popular among gay men for sex as it relaxes the anus without loss of erection.
Drugs which produce relaxation
Temazepam (jellies or wobbly eggs)
Sold in 10-30mg capsules; also 10-20 mg tablets. Muscle relaxant and sleeping
pill. Popular in Scotland when coming down after E, and its use is spreading.
Normally swallowed, but when melted and injected can solidify and cause
circulation problems. In 1994, 50 deaths were linked to Temazepam in the
Glasgow area alone.
GHB, (liquid E or GBH)
An enthusiast says it removes inhibitions much like E but the biggest difference
is that it slows you down until you eventually fall asleep. "After
a night out on E and Speed, GHB is an alternative to smoking dope on comedown,
and if you have sex it's good for a while until you fall asleep." My
one experience was of feeling relaxed in a drunken way but giddy also and
nauseous, but I was told this effect is caused by taking too much. It comes
in small bottles, looks like water and tastes salty.
DXM (Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide)
Low dose is similar to alcohol producing carefree clumsiness with a touch
of psychedelic and speedy effect. Intense and rhythmic music induces a state
of euphoria and dancing becomes fun. On a higher dose imagination can become
vividly experienced (not always pleasant), feelings of dissociation from
the body can occur and on very high doses "profound alterations in
consciousness". Contained in over-the-counter cough medicines sold
as syrups, capsules and sometimes in pill form. Popular sources are Robitussin
Maximum Strength Cough and Vicks Formula 44, but Drixoral Cough gelcaps
contain 20 mg DXM. Cough mixtures listing other active ingredients may have
Dose: 100-300 mg for someone weighing 70 kg (150 lbs or 11 stone). Topping
up tends to increase duration rather than intensity. Duration: 4-8 hours.
Avoid if you are taking an antidepressant of the MAOI type. Other types
such as Prozac may increase the effect.
Drugs which produce altered states of consciousness
Ketamine (K, Ketalar)
Hardly a dance drug, but sometimes sold as Ecstasy, usually mixed with other
drugs such as ephedrine and caffeine. Low doses produce a floppy relaxed
feeling but higher doses produce dissociation (feeling separate from your
body), near death experiences and insights. Higher doses may cause more
powerful hallucinations than LSD; these can be confused with reality. Since
it is used as an anaesthetic in far higher doses, Ketamine is not physically
dangerous although its mental effects can be, and regular users find it
This is a prescription drug.
More information in reply to a question, and my
account of my workshop
LSD (acid, A, trips and type names such as Microdots or Strawberries)
In low doses can enhance sound and lights, but in higher doses produces
strong visual and emotional effects (not always pleasant). Blotters (small
bits of paper with a logo) usually contain about 50 µg (1 µg
is a microgram or millionth of a gram). The dose normally taken in the sixties
was 250 µg. This produces a different level of consciousness which
provides dramatic new insights but which may prove hard to relate to everyday
life. Hallucinations can be powerful, but can be distinguished from reality.
The experience may be personal when communication is difficult, although
in some situations trips are shared as though telepathically.
The very low dose of LSD (a thousand trips contain less drug than a single
E) has two important results. There is so little that it causes no physical
damage, and purity can be pretty well guaranteed simply because active amounts
of other drugs would not fit on a blotter.
The LSD experience is convincingly real, but in fact depends very much on
the situation. This gives rise to myths about different varieties of acid
having different effects.
Bad trips are often blamed on strychnine (rat poison) in LSD, this is a
myth. The amount of strychnine that could fit on a blotter would not be
enough to have any effect. Bad trips result from your own fears becoming
magnified, so don't do acid where you may not feel completely secure.
Dealing with a bad trip
Always remember that the bad experience is the effect of a chemical. The
same chemical can also produce beautiful effects and it really is possible
to turn any trip into a good one. Albert Hofmann (inventor of LSD) suggests
to keep telling yourself that 'you are immortal': nothing you see because
of the trip can hurt you. If you experience something horrible don't try
to fight it, but go with it and it will change into something wonderful
by itself. Someone on a bad trip may appear impossible to communicate with,
but in fact needs attention and reassurance - remind them that the effect
will wear off in a few hours. Bad trips are paranoia; so that if trying
to help someone your good intentions may be doubted. Do not take more drugs
to stop the effect.
Magic Mushrooms (psilocybin, Liberty Caps, mushies, shrooms)
Effect: similar to LSD with the added attraction of being natural, free
and even legal if eaten fresh from the field. However, processing, which
could include handling and drying, makes it a Class A drug.
Appearance: Usually dried and are thin dark brown, but may be powdered.
Typical mushroom smell. These are found in pasture in the autumn, but tend
to be hidden in the grass. They are among the smallest mushrooms, and are
distinguished by being uneven greyish rather than brown; their pointed caps
and wiggly stems. The whole stem is active. Can be eaten or stewed and drunk
as tea. Dose: 0.5-3 grams dried or 5-30 small mushrooms. Strength varies.
A mild psychedelic which lasts about 4 hours and is sometimes sold as ecstasy.
For some people the effect is similar to ecstasy, but less warm and more
intellectual. Does not remove the ability to have an erection, so it is
possible for people to have sex who cannot on ecstasy. Dose: 15-25mg. People
vary as to the correct dose, and this is critical as too much produuces
an uncomfortable edgy feeling. Often sold in small white 5mg tablets, sometimes
as Erox "to treat male impotency."
See user report
Cannabis, marijuana (hash, smoke, draw, weed)
Most common illicit drug. Normally smoked either as dried leaves (grass)
or the resin (hash) mixed with tobacco. Can also be eaten but the effect
is not immediate so it's hard to judge how much to take. Effects are amusement,
enhanced sound and colour, but can also produce paranoia and even LSD-like
hallucinations in high doses.
Generally regarded as harmless, but when smoked with tobacco the deep inhalation
necessary is likely to be more carcinogenic than smoking cigarrettes. There
is also evidence that short term memory is impaired.
Skunk is a particularly potent variety of marijuana developed in
©Nicholas Saunders 1995, revised 1997
E for Ecstasy contents