The club drug going by the name Calvin Klein is making its way through rave culture in different areas of the country to deadly effect.

A party drug cocktail referred to as Calvin Klein gained notoriety after deaths related to the drug made headlines.

What Is the Calvin Klein Drug?

The compound known as Calvin Klein is a mix of cocaine and ketamine and may also be referred to as CK, CK1, or klein. It reportedly got its name from the first letter of each drug (CK). Combining cocaine and ketamine is reported to have the same effect as ecstasy, which is another common club drug. Its use is considered a polydrug, meaning the user takes two psychoactive drugs to achieve the desired effect.

Polydrugs and Club Culture

Drugs that are used primarily in club settings may attract people who may otherwise not be involved in habitual substance abuse. According to research published in Substance Use and Misuse, people who use club drugs are more likely to use polydrugs. Researchers sampled 400 clubgoers in New York City between the ages of 18 and 29 years old and found that:

  • 91.7% had used polydrugs
  • 1,670 different drug combinations were described
  • Ecstasy and cocaine were the two more frequently used club drugs, including as elements of a polydrug combination

Drugs like ecstasycrystal methmethylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or Molly), ketamine and acid are frequently used in club or rave culture. Polydrug use is the creation of a drug cocktail using any number of drug combinations. According to the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, a significant number of health conditions are associated with habitual polydrug use, including:

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Maladjustment
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cognitive changes
  • Motor abnormalities
  • Coma
  • Strokes

Polydrugs are often a combination of stimulant and depressive drugs, most of which have psychotropic or hallucinatory effects.

Calvin Klein Side Effects

The effects of the Calvin Klein combination have been compared to molly. Molly is the street name for MDMA and is a synthetic drug that can give a short-term high. Forms of this drug have been associated with club or rave culture for a long time. MDMA abuse has certain signs and is treatable. Club culture continues to facilitate varying degrees of drug dependence and acceptance with a drug-positive culture. This can be dangerous and has opened the door for increasingly risky drug compounds like Calvin Klein.

Here’s What You Need to Know

Calvin Klein is not a new drug. The polydrug combination of cocaine and ketamine has been used before, under various pseudonyms and street names. By itself, ketamine is a drug used in hospital settings as an anesthetic. Its recreational abuse presents a similar effect to PCP. While it can be abused, recent research shows expanded approved uses for ketamine. A form of ketamine approved in 2019 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was developed as a nasal spray treatment for depression.

Cocaine is an FDA-approved drug with limited medical uses that is usually trafficked illicitly. Cocaine causes a very energetic high and has high addiction potential. Both of these drugs are dangerous when abused. Here are a few other things to know about the combination of these two drugs:

  • It is not safe to combine cocaine and ketamine. Combining cocaine and ketamine has adverse physical effects that can lead to death. These two drugs cause a spike in dopamine in the brain, which can be deadly.
  • People, including a violin prodigy, have died after taking the Calvin Klein drug combination. Violin prodigy Katya Tuskanova reportedly died from a lethal dose of the drug Calvin Klein.
  • Associating the drug with the Calvin Klein name may contribute to its popularity. Branding and image play a large role in culture. From celebrity DJs to designer drugs, associating a drug with an all-American brand like Calvin Klein may contribute to its appeal.
  • The drug known as Calvin Klein is not new. A drug referred to as Calvin Klein is not new, and its effects are not unknown. Drug users have been mixing cocaine and ketamine for years.
  • No comment from Calvin Klein. Calvin Klein himself has undergone substance abuse treatment, and his brand is not associated with this drug.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, it is never too late to get help. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more about a treatment plan that meets your needs and will help you find the road to recovery.

Melissa Carmona
Editor – Melissa Carmona
Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
Jessica Pyhtila
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

Horyn, Cathy. “Calvin Klein Is Seeking Treatment for Substance Abuse“>Calvin K[…]bstance Abuse.” The New York Times, April 5, 2003. Accessed August 26, 2021.

Feuerherd, Ben. “Teen violin prodigy dies of apparent drug overdose in London mansion“>Teen vio[…]ondon mansion.” New York Post, July 11, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2021.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA approves new nasal spray medication for treatment-resistant depression; available only at a certified doctor’s office or clinic“>FDA appr[…]ice or clinic.” March 5, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2021.

Enevoldson, TP. “Recreational drugs and their neurological consequences“>Recreati[…] consequences.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, August 16, 2004. Accessed August 26, 2021.

Grov, Christian; Kelly, Brian C.; Parsons, Jeffrey T. “Polydrug use among club-going young adults recruited through time-space sampling“>Polydrug[…]pace sampling.” Substance Use & Misuse, January 1, 2010. Accessed August 26, 2021.

Gold, Mark S.; Cadet, Jean Lud; Baron, David; et al. “Calvin klein (CK) designer cocktail, new “Speedball” is the “grimm reaper”: Brain dopaminergic surge a potential death sentence“>Calvin k[…]eath sentence.” Journal of Systems and Integrative Neuroscience, September 14, 2020. Accessed August 26, 2021.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “Controlled Substances“>Controlled Substances.” July 20, 2021. Accessed August 26, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.