GHB or date rape drugs were a controversial talking point in 2021, as a number of people had drinks spiked in nightclubs across the UK.
But what is the drug, and what are its effects?
What is GHB?
GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is usually used to treat narcolepsy.
But it can also be a dangerous drug with sedative and anaesthetic effects, if not properly prescribed, and it is said to be sold by dealers for approximately £15 for a small bottle.
GHB is a Class C drug and possession can lead to a two-year prison sentence – and being caught supplying can result in 14 years in prison.
The drug can sometimes come in a white powder or capsules.
It is an odourless, colourless oily liquid that has a slightly salty taste, and a typical dose is only a teaspoonful, which makes it very easy to overdose.
Experienced users measure the drug out very carefully to avoid taking too much, and is typically taken orally by using a pipette, syringe or pre-measured vial to measure the dose and is then mixed into a soft drink.
GHB will typically show up in a urine sample for 24 hours afterwards.
What are the effects of GHB?
The drug is also known to produce a feeling of euphoria and can reduce inhibitions and cause sleepiness – making it a common date-rape drug.
It is dangerous when mixed with alcohol and other depressant or sedative substances, and the drowsy effects take effect after between 10 minutes to an hour and can last for up to seven hours.
GHB may also induce amnesia in its victim, and because GHB can cause people to pass out, it's been linked to rape and other sexual assaults.
If not diluted properly, GHB can also burn the mouth and throat when swallowed.
Due to the extreme side effects, it's advised that users avoid mixing GHB with alcohol, opioids (heroin, codeine), tramadol, benzodiazepines (Xanax, diazepam), and ketamine.
People who take GHB can develop a dependence on the drug and some have reported withdrawal symptoms such as confusion, shaking, epileptic seizure and in extreme cases can result in a coma.
Is GHB the same as GBL?
GBL (gammabutyrolactone) is a drug closely related to GHB.
It is taken as a colourless liquid and converted into GHB shortly after it enters the body.
Like GHB, it creates a feeling of euphoria, reduces inhibitions and can cause sleepiness.
GBL is used in stain remover, rust remover, superglue remover, as an alloy cleaner and as a paint stripper.
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