What are the Main Party Drugs Used in the UK?

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

What are the Main Party Drugs Used in the UK

Popular party drugs and how to spot when your friends have been spiked.

We define party drugs as those that are most often consumed when in the club, on a night out, or otherwise in the ‘party mood’. Sometimes known as Club Drugs, those illegal narcotic substances consumed at festivals and in nightclubs can do serious damage to the user.

Identifying Party Drug Abuse

When we take a pill or snort a line of cocaine in a party environment, we often abuse that substance. We can abuse drugs without being addicted to them, but if we frequently abuse drugs then we will likely develop an addiction to them.  At parties or in a club, you are often exposed to drugs that are intended to increase your ‘buzz’, but that’s not always the case. So-called date rape drugs GHB and Rohypnol are both considered club drugs. Drugs that increase your buzz only last for a short time. We end up taking more of them later on in the night to maintain our high. This drug abuse is dangerous since it doubles up on the dose which might be enough to put you in the hospital. If you are using the same drugs every time you go out to the club, you are likely involved in illegal drug abuse. Keep it up and you run the risk of addiction. Remember, you can opt for a 7-day rehab session plus a detox to interfere with any brewing drug addiction you feel you may have. 

Main UK Party Drugs

Now that we can recognise drug abuse, let’s talk about the main party drugs used in the UK. We will discuss each drug, what it looks like, and what the effects are. 


Although the National Institute of Drug Abuse does not include cocaine in its list of club drugs, it is still frequently found at parties. This is a rich man’s drug, which might explain its absence from the list. Cocaine will give you a short-term high which makes you feel euphoric. It is unlikely that you would be spiked with cocaine because it is so expensive, but be cautious of a racing heart, shaking, and an inability to focus.


Rohypnol is a strong benzodiazepine and makes you seem like you are heavily drunk. It is known as a date rape drug, meaning it is used to sexually assault the target that has been spiked. If you are at a club or at a party and your friend starts acting drunker than they should be, be immediately on guard. Make sure they stay with you until you leave. If possible, take them home yourself.


GHB is a CNS depressant, which means it is dangerous to your breathing and especially when mixed with other CNS Depressants like alcohol. GHB is usually found in clear liquid form and can be added to drinks at parties. Someone on GHB will be struggling to remain conscious and will appear very drunk. Just like Rohypnol, GHB is used as a date rape drug.


Ketamine is an anaesthetic drug developed back in the 70s. It has hallucinogenic and tranquilising effects and can cause problems if abused. It is used as a date rape drug and will leave you feeling as though you are outside of your body. A ketamine user will appear drunk or unconscious. Do not leave them alone and seek medical assistance.


Ecstasy or its liquid form MDMA are both considered club drugs. They provide a feeling of euphoria that goes with the party atmosphere. It can cause hallucinations and swelling in the brain. Someone who is on ecstasy will seem overly affectionate and will continuously drink water. Users have been known to die because they drink both too much and too little when on ecstasy.


Acid has been a favourite of the club scene since the 60s and 70s. It triggers hallucinations and has a strong psychoactive high. You may feel you are floating or tripping while you are on acid. It is typically taken as paper sheets dissolved on the tongue. If your friend has been spiked with acid, they may be talking to themselves or acting strangely.

What to do if you have an addiction to Club Drugs?

If you think you are developing an addiction to any drug, including alcohol, contact Help4Addiction for advice. We offer free consultations to help place you in the right rehab clinic and can even give impartial advice. Don’t suffer in silence. Help is out there, and we can aid you in accessing it.

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