Teen Club Drug Abuse Treatment

While it’s not fair to assume that drugs are available in every club, it is possible to find a rather staggering selection in clubs, night clubs, concert halls, bars, and even some house parties. The term “club drug” is more or less slang for the psychoactive drugs commonly found in these atmospheres. The most popular include Ecstasy (MDMA), Acid (LSD), GHB, Meth (Methamphetamine), Ketamine, and Rohypnol.

What Does Teen Club Drug Abuse Look Like?

  • Teens who abuse psychoactive drugs may become addicted. These drugs can also cause long-term cognitive brain damage or trigger Psychosis, Anxiety, Depression, and a wide variety of other mental health disorders.
  • Teens abusing club drugs often struggle to maintain relationships, do well in school, or maintain control over their lives. They engage in self-destructive behavioral patterns and start taking dangerous risks.
  • Many club drugs have severe adverse side effects due to the potential for overdose and mixed ingredients, which lead to “impure” drugs. These side effects can include life-threatening illnesses.
  • Club drug users tend to share drug paraphernalia, putting them at a higher risk for contracting infectious diseases.

Signs of Teen Club Drug Abuse

Red, bloodshot eyes

Red, bloodshot eyes

Nervousness, shaking and trembling

Nervousness, shaking and trembling

Constant need for money

Constant need for money

Unnecessary risk-taking

Unnecessary risk-taking

Chronic tardiness or “no-shows”

Chronic tardiness or “no-shows”

Constantly fatigued or exhausted

Constantly fatigued or exhausted

What Kinds of Club Drugs do Teens Abuse?


Also known as ecstacy or “molly,” this drug acts as a stimulant. Stimulants enhance one’s perceptive abilities, often giving the user an increased sense of enjoyment from stimuli. Those under the influence of MDMA are often overly empathetic, are acutely aware of themselves, report feelings of euphoria, and have diminished inhibitions. MDMA is usually sold in tablet form. Because it is a street drug, other substances --- all addictive --- are often mixed in. These include Adderall (amphetamines), ketamine, meth, and other more dangerous non-psychoactive substances, like PMA.

Those who use ecstasy experience a “roll” (or high), within approximately 45 minutes of taking the drug. The high lasts for around three hours, but is at its highest peak at the 30 minute mark. While it’s isn’t 100 percent clear why, studies indicate that the impact ecstasy has on dopamine can lead to a physical addiction. The biggest concern with this drug is the fact that a user may not know it is laced or mixed with other drugs, causing an incorrect dosage and the potential for severe side effects.


GHB is FDA-approved to treat narcolepsy, but is also abused recreationally because of its depressant and euphoric properties. This drug is highly regulated and is usually prescribed at very small doses, whereas someone abusing it recreationally takes a much higher dose than is medically recommended. GHB comes in many forms, but in liquid form, is both colorless and tasteless. Users regularly mix it with alcohol and it has been known as a “date rape” drug.

Regular abuse of GHB can lead to serious side-effects, including addiction and seizures. When combined with alcohol, GHB can also depress the respiratory system. Hospitals also can’t currently test for GHB, which makes it more difficult to treat an overdose victim in the event of an emergency. GHB abuse treatment almost always needs to occur in a residential facility so the patient can be carefully monitored and treated for withdrawal symptoms.

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Rohypnol is a sedative-hypnotic drug. It is not approved for any sort of medical use in the United States, but is categorized as being similar to Xanax and Valium. The drug may be taken as a whole pill, but some people prefer to grind it up and mix it into food or snort it. An overdose of Rohypnol can be fatal, especially if it is mixed with alcohol or other depressant drugs.


Veterinarians often use ketamine as an anesthetic; however, it is still used rarely in human medicine for the treatment of chronic pain and as an anaesthetic in certain patient populations. It is most often found on the street as a colorless, odorless liquid or powder, where it is commonly mixed with alcohol and ingested orally. The dissociative effect it creates gives the user an experience in which they feel detached and have a distorted sense of sight and sound. Low doses can cause memory issues, attention span problems, and learning difficulties. Higher doses may cause symptoms ranging from hallucinations to periods of amnesia.

Teens can develop a tolerance to ketamine. This will result in the development of a dependency and a need for increased doses to obtain a high.

Teen Club Drug Abuse Treatment | Paradigm San Francisco

What are the Causes of Teen Club Drug Use?

There are a lot of reasons teens may opt to experiment with or abuse drugs. Some are simply curious about what getting high is like, while others succumb easily to peer pressure. Teens have a proclivity towards high-risk behaviors and aren’t as skilled at comprehending the long-term consequences of drug use as older people are.

Some teens will experiment with drugs as a way of coping with difficult school and home situations. Some may attempt to use stimulants to aid in studying while others are simply looking to destress and take the edge off. Additional risk factors for club drug abuse include:

Family History - It is possible that there is a genetic component to addiction. Studies have shown that those who a family history of addiction tend to become addicted easier and faster than those with no family history.

Mental Illness – Anxiety, Depression, and other mental health disorders may lead teens to try drugs as a coping mechanism. They think the highs from the drugs temporarily relieve the pain and discomfort from their other disorders.

Drug Use in the Home – Teens who see drugs used in the home will be encouraged, directly or indirectly, to try them. The earlier person begins experimenting with drugs, the higher their risk of addiction later in life.


of high school seniors abuse prescription stimulant drugs.


likelihood of drug use among teens who go to raves.


of youths have used ecstasy at least once.

How Can I Help My Teen with Club Drug Abuse?

Spend Time Together – your teen may try to isolate themselves. You may even feel the need to isolate yourself. Don’t do it. The more you learn about addiction, the better you will understand what your teen is going through. Your teen needs to know you are there for support and will not abandon them. You need to be strong, always putting your teen’s best interests first --- whether they agree or not. Rules and structure will help your teen stay clean during their recovery period.

Practice Healthier Habits Together – the healthier your family’s behaviors, the easier it will be for your teen to fight cravings. Take a close look at your family’s eating habits and find new ways to be physically active together. Create and stick to a strict routine, including morning wake-up calls, school work schedules, and bed times. Work with your teen, but don’t do the work for them. Communication is key to better understanding your teen’s thoughts and needs.

Professional Recovery – while parents are their teen’s most loyal fans and trusted therapists, it is not appropriate for parents to cope with this type of behavioral disorder alone. Professional therapists and counselors have the experience it takes to battle addiction. Your teen’s therapist will help you to alter your home environment and create a program your teen will feel comfortable with when they return.

What Types of Teen Club Drug Abuse Treatment Are Available?

Withdrawal from club drugs can be incredibly difficult and, in some cases, even fatal. This is why residential therapy programs are often recommended for teens who abuse this type of drug. Respiratory and cardiac symptoms are not manageable at home; teens need to be carefully monitored and cared for throughout the process.

The good news is that, with the right help, teens can overcome their addictions. This type of therapy is intensive, but it is possible to overcome both the physical and mental aspects of the dependency. Your teen’s therapist will use a holistic approach to help them get past drug use, explore your teen’s reasons for using, and help them create a plan for the future. The sooner a teen receives treatment, the better the long-term prognosis for staying clean and sober.


Individual therapy sessions incorporate behavioral counseling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) methods. These approaches allow teens to work through the emotions that caused and worsened their addictions.

Co-existing mental health disorders, including Depression and Bipolar Disorder, may play a role in and spur on drug abuse. Teens will work with their counselors to better understand their own thought processes and find better ways of coping in treatment.

Residential Treatment

The risk of relapse is higher among teens who try to recover as an outpatient. Residential treatment plans offer teens a safe, sober living environment free of past triggers. The earlier a teen relapses, the harder it is to convince them to try again. A residential program will keep a teen sober for longer, with a stronger chance of building better coping and avoidance tools.

Group Support

Addiction feels lonely, but group therapy helps teens better understand that they are not really alone in their battle. Group therapy offers opportunities for socialization while at the same time allowing teens to develop new social skills and practice empathy. Hearing the stories of others can help them better understand themselves as well.

Teen Club Drug Abuse Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco

Early withdrawal and recovery is difficult to do alone. Teenagers are especially prone to relapse because they have a more difficult time controlling their impulses and emotions. A structured environment is important to preventing early relapses in teens.

A Drug-Free Environment

Paradigm San Francisco offers a safe atmosphere in which teens can get and stay clean. Our closed environment eliminates temptation and makes it easier for teens to focus on things other than their cravings – like getting well, achieving inner peace, and relaxation.

Adjusting to Sober Living

Our Paradigm San Francisco location is designed to offer the interventions necessary to help teens cope with mental health disorders. Teens will have a daily schedule, ongoing classes, and privacy while enjoying limited freedoms as they progress through their program.

The therapeutic environment at Paradigm San Francisco gives teens the tools they need to learn how to relax without drugs. Teens focus on therapy and classes, learn stress relief techniques, and leave feeling better prepared to deal with their school and work obligations after treatment.

“The best place for adolescents seeking treatment. Some of the best staff I have ever encountered. It is very structured which I feel is important to the success of recovery in minors. “

– Rose M.

Frequently Asked Questions about Teen Club Drug Abuse

How can I tell if I need help?

It’s relatively easy to objectively answer that question. Are you incapable of stopping your drug use, even though you recognize problems in your relationships, issues at school, and negative behavior patterns? If this is you, you need help. Do you get depressed when you try to stop using, end up craving, and then use again? If this is you, you need help. Does using drugs daily feel normal to you? If yes, you need help.

In a perfect world, you would recognize you need help stopping your drug use before it’s progressed to a true dependency or addiction. Please consider stopping and asking for help before you begin to struggle further.

No one starts using expecting to end up addicted, and you should not feel ashamed about having an addiction. Addiction is simply the body’s natural response to the use of drugs that have addictive properties. While the process of getting clean is long and difficult, it is a journey well-worth taking, especially with professional help. The physical side effects of drug use can quickly become dangerous.

What happens if I like the way I feel?

Addictive drugs target a very specific portion of your brain. This part of your brain is responsible for how you feel about everything, including physical activities, food, and even sex. It also contributes to your ability to control your mood or digest your food. Yes, drugs seem enjoyable, but it’s a distortion in your brain’s chemistry that makes you feel like they’re important. As your body adapts and your brain adjusts, drugs won’t be enjoyable any longer. They’ll become scary and upsetting --- and more difficult to break free from.

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