What are Party Pills?

Last Updated on August 25, 2023

party pills

As more drugs become controlled substances, new synthetic alternatives are hitting the streets claiming to be legal versions of illicit drugs and promising similar effects with little to no risks. However, as many new drugs are being marketed as “dietary supplements” in the hopes of avoiding regulations and inspections, they are often unmonitored and can contain an unknown cocktail of chemicals. Party Pills, sold legally under brand names like Cok-N, Xplode, or XTC, are some of the newest drugs in stores claiming to offer users a legal and safe high.

Here are some of the most common questions and answers about party pills.

1. What are party pills?

Party pills are a psychoactive substance meant to offer an effect similar to amphetamines, ecstasy, or LSD. The main ingredient in party pills was originally benzylpiperazine (BZP). BZP is now listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, so current versions of the drug contain a wide variety of substances, the most common of which are:

  • Caffeine
  • Citrus aurantium
  • Geranamine (geranium extract)

Marketed as a dietary supplement, party pills are largely unregulated and untested. Due to the lack of monitoring, there is virtually no way to know what substances the pills actually contain or to know the exact amounts in each pill. Falsely touted as a natural supplement, or an “herbal high” party pills are entirely synthetic containing no natural ingredients.

2. What do party pills look like?

Party pills may look like any number of pills or candies. Most often, the drugs will look like small white or colored pills or tablets. They may also be designed to look like mints or candy.

3. What are the side effects of party pills?

Taking a party drug such as MDMA or Ecstasy will cause the body’s central nervous system to speed up, and the effects can be immediate or long-term. A typical party drug normally takes up to an hour to kick in. Since the effects of the first dose can take awhile to surface, individuals often take more of the drug after the first dose. This can be very dangerous or even fatal, leading to overdose.
Many brands of party pills claim to offer cocaine or methamphetamine-like effects. Other side effects of party pills may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperventilation
  • Respiratory failures
  • Seizures

Hospitalization most often occurs when the user mixes party pills with other substances such as alcohol or other drugs.

4. What are the risks of party pills? Are party pills safe or dangerous?

Because these substances are relatively new, there is little known about their long-term effects. Studies suggest that the use of party pills could lead to long-term anxiety and increase the likelihood of dependency and other stimulant abuse.

Since the ingredients in party pills cause reactions that are similar to other central nervous system stimulants, users are likely facing similar harm. Although party pills create similar effects at a reduced strength, once an individual becomes accustomed to functioning in an altered state, he or she can face withdrawal symptoms leading to dependence and ultimately addiction.

No drugs, despite their labeling or claims, are risk-free. Party pills are another “legal” drug made in an attempt to bypass the current controlled substances laws. With no way to know exactly what is in them or the long-term effects on health, users are taking a risk consuming a drug that falsely markets itself as “natural and safe.”

6. What is the safest party drug?

Many drugs are taken recreationally and studies have shown that some may even have medical benefits. The safest party drug is believed to be magic mushrooms. Mushrooms contain psilocybin, which produces hallucinations. Studies have shown that it can also relieve symptoms of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and cluster headaches. Research suggests that the drug is linked with slowing activity in the center of the brain where depression may be hyperactive. Mushrooms also have the lowest hospital visit rate, even coming in lower than cannabis, which is legal recreationally in many states to date. However, taking any party drug obviously has risks and can be very dangerous. So, it is important to know and understand the possible effects of party drugs.

Party pills are technically “legal” but that doesn’t make them safe. They are only legal because the manufacturers change the ingredients rapidly to evade the law. The synthetic pills may also be marketed as herbal pills or dietary supplements and then touted for their “safe highs” or “herbal highs.” Regardless of how they are portrayed, geranium pills, herbal party pills, or unregulated dietary supplements can be chock full of harmful chemicals.

8. How long do party pills last?

Users have reported experiencing alertness and euphoria with effects lasting four to six hours, but since the ingredients of party pills vary so much, the duration of the effects is often unknown.

9. What are some common party pills?

Common party pills include illicit drugs and designer drugs like:1,2

  • Amyl nitrates (butyl nitrate, poppers, rush, hardware, locker room, aroma of man) – People typically sniff these inhalants to get a short, but intense high.3
  • Ketamine hydrochloride (Ketalar, special K, vitamin K, cat Valium) – This is a pain reliever and a popular party drug. People may take it in pill form, inject it, snort it, or smoke it for an abrupt high that lasts for about an hour. It tends to attract younger users.4
  • MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ecstasy, XTC, X, STP, clarity) – Millions of Americans abuse this drug for its pleasurable effects, including feelings of well-being, overall stimulation, and distortions of time and senses.5
  • Methamphetamine (Desoxyn®, crystal meth, crystal, speed, crank, bennies, ice) – People abuse this stimulant drug by taking a pill, smoking, snorting, or injecting it. The high starts and fades quickly, so binging on meth for days and foregoing food and sleep is a common occurrence.
  • Rohypnol (roofies) – This drug is often referred to as the “date rape drug” because some people use its sedating effects to aid in sexual assault.6
  • GHB (Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X) – This drug is commonly abused by young people at parties. It is a colorless and tasteless liquid that is also frequently used as an aid in sexual assault.7
  • LSD (Acid, blotter, windowpane) – This drug is a very powerful mood-altering drug that is typically swallowed in the form of tablets, pills, or liquid. Users may also absorb the drug through their gums by tucking drug-soaked papers in their mouths.9
  • PCP (angel dust) – This illegal hallucinogenic drug induces hallucinations and makes the user feel like he or she is completely detached from reality. It is heavily linked to aggressive behavior, psychosis, and accidental death.10

Addicted to Party Pills? Get Help Today

If you are suffering from addiction to synthetic drugs like party pills, Nova Recovery Center can help. Our individualized addiction treatment programs are designed to fit your needs, regardless of your drug abuse history or current circumstances. It’s never too late to seek help for your addiction. Please contact our admissions team today to get started.


  1. http://www.healthcommunities.com/substance-abuse/drugs.shtml
  2. http://parentactionondrugs.org/alcohol-drugs/party-drugs-ecstasy-and-hallucinogens/
  3. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/adf-drug-facts-amyl-nitrite/
  4. https://www.projectknow.com/research/ketamine-effects/
  5. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/Introduction
  6. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine
  7. https://www.drugs.com/illicit/rohypnol.html
  8. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens
  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305328.php
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