To begin with, it is important to point out to those who have not heard of club drugs yet. These are also known as rave drugs and are often associated with night parties in discotheques. The term club drugs refers to a wide range of substances that are commonly abused by young adults and teens at all-night party clubs and parties. The drugs reported in these scenes are extremely diverse and vary among locales. Overall, they include drugs that have long been abused, such as marijuana and cocaine, and drugs whose abuse is a more recent development. All these drugs are taken with different purposes but most importantly most youths are lured to abuse this drugs by there need to belong. When the party lovers meet and spend time together they will obviously want to do everything together as that will give them a sense of belonging and a ‘family’. Most youths indulge in the use of club drugs not because they really need to but because those they came to club with are using; talk of peer pressure. Some of these drugs are stimulants, some depressants, and some hallucinogens. Most of these club drugs however exhibit multiple pharmacological properties hence cannot be easily categorized. The club drugs are often grouped as;
Designer drug is the term used for a drug created by changing the molecular structure of one or more existing drugs to create a new substance. These drugs have no place in the medical field as they have no accepted medical purpose so they can only be used for other purposes other than medical purposes and hence are always abused. As a result, they are synthesized in illicit laboratories. MDMA which is mostly associated with ecstasy is the most sought after and the most commonly abused of the designer drugs. The other designer drugs are considered by users to be inferior substitutes for MDMA and are typically only ingested unknowingly, when present in tablets sold as ecstasy. Examples of other designer drugs are: MDA, MDE, MBDB, DOB, DOM, 2C-B. MDMA and MDA are the most known club drugs and are hence highly used by youths in discotheques.
Hallucinogens, also known as psychedelics, refer to a wide range of substances derived from both natural and synthetic sources. In general, hallucinogens distort the user’s sensory perceptions and may also create feelings of euphoria. These effects vary depending on the drug in question. The stronger hallucinogens can exert a powerful effect on a drug user’s thinking and can produce sensory illusions that make it difficult to distinguish between fact and fantasy. In general, hallucinogens do not create a physical dependence, but they can create a psychological dependence. Their consumption also creates a tolerance that is built rapidly within the body. Many drugs that exhibit mild hallucinogenic properties are commonly classified as hallucinogens, including marijuana and MDMA. Drugs that exhibit potent hallucinogenic properties are discussed below, including, LSD, ketamine, peyote/mescaline, and mushrooms.
Depressants are also known as sedatives. These drugs commonly abused in the club environment include GHB and Rohypnol. These sedatives are highly potent. As a result, they have earned the title “date rape drugs“. As the name suggests they are very dangerous but unfortunately teens and young men are rocking them like their names depends on them.
Phencyclidine (PCP) selectively reduces excitatory actions
Phencyclidine often shortened as PCP is a major drug of abuse that has anesthetic actions and produces effects that resemble schizophrenia. The mechanism of action of PCP-like drugs has not been established, although specific binding sites in brain have been identified that appear to be pharmacologically relevant. PCP-like drugs selectively antagonize excitation of spinal neurons by N-methyl aspartate commonly abbreviated as NMA. Therefore, the behavioral effects of PCP-like drugs might result from reduced neurotransmission at excitatory synapses utilizing NMA receptors in higher centers of the central nervous system. Until now, this proposed explanation of the behavioral effects of PCP-like drugs is based exclusively on electrophysiological findings.
Given that PCP-like drugs produce behavioral effects primarily through antagonism at excitatory synapses utilizing NMA receptors, drugs that are known to antagonize electrophysiological effects of NMA should produce PCP-like behavioral effects. DL-2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate (AP5) is a potent and highly selective NMA antagonist 8. A procedure for the measurement of catalepsy in pigeons, suitable for studying PCP-like activity of compounds, has been described.
Phencyclidine (PCP) has effects on the NMDA receptor. In an experiment that was done using mice in a laboratory, it was found that Stable N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor-mediated currents in cultured mouse hippocampal neurons were evoked by 20 ms pressure pulse applications of L-aspartate, repeatedly applied at 30 or 40 s intervals, to the cell body region of the neuron. In the study a simple model of the blockade, based on the ‘guarded receptor hypothesis’ was used to interpret our data. The model assumes that receptors are maximally activated at the peak of the response with an open probability (Po) approaching 1, that there is no desensitization and that the blocking drug only associates with, or dissociates from, receptor channels which have been activated by agonist.
The model used allowed the scientists to estimate forward and reverse rate constants for binding of the blockers to open channels from measurements of the steady-state level of blockade and the rate of change of the current amplitude per pulse during onset and offset of blockade. As predicted by the model, the estimated reverse rate was independent of blocker concentration while the forward rate increased with concentration.
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