Pubdate: Thu, 01 Nov 2001
Source: The News-Gazette (IL)
Copyright: 2001 The News-Gazette
Author: Steve Bauer


CHAMPAIGN - Club drugs are popular among certain groups of young people who 
are exposing themselves to the risk of serious medical or emotional harm, 
even death, a local medical director said.

Speaking to a dozen counselors and social workers at a lunch program at The 
Pavilion's lecture series, Dr. Keith Moberg, clinical director of the New 
Home alcohol and drug rehab center at The Pavilion and a doctor at Carle 
Clinic, said club drugs are so-called because they tend to be used in 
so-called "rave clubs," or all-night dance clubs.

"Typically, young people go to these clubs and dance all night," he said. 
"They use these drugs to enhance the experience and to get the energy to go 
all night."

The drugs are all dangerous, but the most dangerous among current drug 
trends is methamphetamines, Moberg said. A national study found there were 
2,061 deaths due to methamphetamines from 1994 to 1998, followed by 46 
deaths due to Ketamine and 27 due to Ecstasy, formally known as 
methylenedioxymethamphetamine, he said.

Other national studies showed that 3.6 percent of 12th-grade students 
surveyed said they had tried Ecstasy, while a survey at Stanford University 
reported that 39 percent of the students there had tried the drug.

Moberg said doctors here have seen people using Ecstasy, but that in many 
cases, the patients also report using other drugs, including alcohol, 
marijuana and cocaine.

Both at the drug treatment programs and at the Carle Foundation Hospital 
trauma center, doctors have treated some patients for problems with club 
drugs recently, he said. One man tried to climb from a second-floor balcony 
to a third-floor balcony outside an apartment building and suffered a 
serious head injury, he said.

They also see a lot of people who "mix and match" club drugs, such as 
Liquid G, with alcohol to increase the sedative effects, Moberg said.

It also hampers the ability to breathe and increases substantially the risk 
of coma and even death, he said.

Police say Ecstasy, Liquid G and other designer drugs are increasingly 
popular, but still far less used than marijuana and alcohol.

Urbana police Sgt. Pat Connolly said club drugs are certainly a problem, 
particularly among college-age young adults.

"We know it is plentiful, according to students who claim it is abundant in 
the campus area," Connolly said. "We are not seeing as many arrests with 
those kinds of drugs because it involves such an underground market."

UI police Capt. Krystal Fitzpatrick agrees, saying, "We are being told it's 
becoming more prevalent on campus." While there have been no recent 
arrests, police are investigating club drugs on campus, she said.

Eileen Harned, coordinator of the Alcohol and Other Drug Office at the 
university, also believes Ecstasy and Liquid G are still being used among 
some students, but there have been no reportable incidents this fall, as 
there were in the spring, when some students were treated for drug overdoses.

"I've heard it's still out there," Harned said. "Students know where to go 
to get it."

University residence halls, Greek organizations and police have conducted 
many training sessions to educate students about the risks of such drugs, 
Harned said.

Champaign police Sgt. Scott Friedlein said he has given several 
presentations to student groups and believes that Ecstasy ranks only behind 
alcohol and marijuana among recreational substances on campus.

"Ecstasy is still prevalent and well-known, but it's a very tight culture 
that uses the drug," Friedlein said.

In his presentation to a dozen counselors and social workers, Moberg 
discussed the chemical natures, histories, pleasure effects and adverse 
effects of such drugs as Ecstasy, Liquid G, LSD, Rohypnol and methamphetamine.

- - Ecstasy, which is methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA, causes enhanced 
sensitivity and a greater sense of well-being, but the drug also causes 
nausea, depression, long-term brain damage, heart or kidney failure, 
seizures and even death.

- - Liquid G, which is gammahydroxybutyrate or GHB, causes effects like a 
hybrid of LSD and Ecstasy, enhancing the sense of touch and causing 
intoxication and loss of inhibitions. It also causes nausea, dizziness, 
loss of consciousness and even death.

At one time, Liquid G and Rohypnol, commonly called "roofies," were 
considered "date rape drugs" because of the practice of spiking a woman's 
drink, causing her to pass out. In many cases, memory is wiped out by the 

"A woman who is raped after consuming a date rape drug may have no memory 
of who she met, let alone that the event occurred," Moberg said.

- - Methamphetamine use has seen a resurgence because it can be made in home 
labs and be distributed among small cells of people, Moberg said.

"It doesn't take a lot of resources to create these labs," he said.

Meth, also known as "ice" or "crank," is a stimulant that causes euphoria, 
a sense of energy and confidence. It also suppresses appetite. The adverse 
effects include very high heart rate, high blood pressure, violent behavior 
and psychosis.

"Meth is a terrible drug, very addictive, very deadly," Moberg said.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens