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GHB Abuse and Addiction: The Date Rape & Party Drug You Need to Avoid

GHB, also known more simply as “G,” is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant found most commonly in the “club scene.”

It’s been reported to bring with it a sense of euphoria, an increased sex drive, and a feeling of overall tranquility. But this illicit substance is both dangerous and addictive as well so educating yourself on GHB abuse and addiction is absolutely essential.

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G Drug Street Names

Street names are a way to refer to a substance without actually using the proper name of the drug. This can help mask illegal activity from others or simply serve as a type of shorthand when it comes to talking about the drug.

GHB has a number of street names, including:

  • Liquid X
  • Grievous Bodily Harm
  • Mils
  • Liquid Ecstasy
  • Oop
  • Gamma-oh
  • Georgia home boy
  • G
  • Liquid G
  • Fantasy
  • Scoop
  • Goop
  • Easy Lay
  • Gina Drug 

On a more technical level, GHB also has a variety of chemically descriptive names as well including:

  • Gamma Hydroxybutyrate
  • Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid
  • 4-Hydroxybutanoic Acid
  • Sodium Oxybate 

In general, these infinitely more complicated terms aren’t used that often to refer to GHB. However, it is still possible to hear them among G abusers so don’t push them out of your mind completely.

A Closer Look at What GHB Really Is

Gamma Hydroxybutyrate is a CNS depressant, a chemical compound that essentially slows down the body’s natural processes and can result in a sedative effect that some people find calming. 

Specifically, it acts on the GHB receptor and is a precursor to GABA, the brain’s inhibitory neurotransmitter that’s essentially used to calm things down.

It’s most commonly abused by teens and young adults in the “club scene” for its tendency to help individuals feel uninhibited, euphoric, and much more relaxed. 

Liquid G is also one of the most frequently abused drugs when it comes to illicit substance-related sexual assault. It can have a dramatic sedative effect and is well known to be used as a “date rape drug.”

GHB Addiction

What is Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid Used For?

There aren’t many legal uses for 4-hydroxybutanoic acid. In fact, in the medical community the term “GHB” is usually used specifically to describe the illicit use of the substance. 

Sodium oxybate, the sodium salt of GHB, can be found in the prescription drug Xyrem. This substance was approved by the FDA in 2002 for treating, oddly enough, narcolepsy. 

Given its potential for abuse as Liquid G, Xyrem is highly regulated as a Schedule III controlled substance. What’s more, it’s only available from a certified pharmacy that has been granted authorization to distribute it through a program called the Xyrem Success Program.

A Few Common G Analogues

In the world of illicit substances, illegal drug manufacturers will often try to produce chemical combinations that mimic the effects of certain illicit substances while still being technically classified as legal. They aren’t, after all, the exact same as the illegal drug. 

These substances are called analogues. 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, GHB has a number of analogues known as GBL (gamma butyrolactone) and 1,4 BD (1,4-butanediol). They’re fully legal substances when used for their harmless purpose of producing polyurethane, pesticides, elastic fibers and more. 

However, some companies have begun marketing them as GHB alternatives and have done so under the guise of being “fish tank cleaners,” “ink stain removers,” “ink cartridge cleaners,” and “nail enamel removers,” usually priced at around $100 per bottle. 

Don’t be fooled by these disguises though – if you see someone abusing these substances, they’re most likely doing so explicitly for the purpose of achieving their similar Liquid G drug effects.

GHB Club Drug

GHB Abuse: One of the Most Common Party Drugs

Like Rohypnol, Ketamine, and a host of other party drugs, Liquid G is especially common on the club scene. These venues are characterized by loud music, colorful and visually appealing lights, dancing, and a propensity towards alcohol and other substances. 

But while the glitz and glamor of this world may be alluring at first, the mix of drugs, alcohol, and high-risk behaviors can be deadlier than you think.

For example, a recent study found that the number of GHB-related deaths in London rose an alarming 119% from 2014 to 2015 – a one year span. For a bit of perspective, deaths from ecstasy actually dropped by 10% in that same time period. 

Beyond that, GHB or its many analogues can actually be made from home. Most of the tools required to do so can be found in the average kitchen and the major ingredients (GBL, NaOH, and distilled water) are all easily accessible from either the store or online. 

This makes Liquid G especially dangerous in that not only is it widely available, it may also be made from home by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, thereby increasing the risk of overdose.

It seems obvious, then, that Liquid G is not as harmless as many people imagine.

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Liquid G and Sexual Assault

Probably moreso than its reputation as a party drug, GHB is also well-known for the part it plays in a large number of sexual assaults.

Like many other date rape drugs, Gamma Hydroxybutyrate is usually tasteless, odorless, and colorless when it’s mixed with a beverage. This makes it especially dangerous when it comes to being used to drug and sexually assault unwilling individuals. 

What’s more, G is quite fast-acting (15 to 30 minutes on average) and incredibly potent – meaning a small amount can have a big effect in a relatively short span of time.

Beyond that, GHB is difficult to test for since it has such a short half-life. This can be especially problematic in identifying assault when combined with the short-term memory loss that’s common with the drug.

As with many other substances, GHB should never be mixed with alcohol. 

As a CNS depressant itself, when Liquid G is used in conjunction with any depressants, sedatives, or hypnotics, the combination can result in a dangerous drop of blood pressure, respiration, or central nervous system activity. 

The result of doing so could be extreme sedation, seizures, coma, and death. In fact, 35.8% of all GHB-related emergency room visits also involved alcohol consumption. 

Despite the lethality of this combination though, many people still use the two drugs in conjunction. After all, a few of the most common places to use GHB are bars, dance clubs, and concerts, all venues where alcohol is widely available.  

Another problem among many people who use Liquid G and alcohol together is the development of a cross addiction. Not only does their frequent abuse of the two substances result in becoming addicted to G, it also contributes to an alcohol dependency as well.

Are You Addicted to GHB?

Recognizing that you have a Gamma Hydroxybutyrate addiction is the very first step in coming to terms with your disease (it after all is a disease). And in order to do that, you first have to be able to spot the signs of being addicted to GHB. 

One of the quickest methods for determining if you (or someone you know) has developed a Liquid G abuse problem is by taking an online quiz. It doesn’t typically take too long and it’ll help give you a better idea of how bad the problem has actually gotten. 

For a bit more in-depth look at patterns of G addiction, you can use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) substance use disorder questionnaire to see how you score. 

If you or someone you know answers yes to two or more of these questions for a one year timeline, it’s probably best to seek professional help. 

  • Do you take more G than you originally intended?
  • Have you tried to quit using GHB but just couldn’t follow through?
  • Do you regularly put in a lot of time and effort finding more Liquid G?
  • Have you experienced any G cravings?
  • Is abusing GHB making it so you can’t follow through with your other obligations?
  • Is G abuse negatively impacting your social life?
  • Have you found you no longer participate in activities you used to enjoy because of your GHB abuse?
  • Have you taken Liquid G in high risk situations?
  • Even though you have noticed a detrimental effect (physical or psychological) of abusing G, do you still do it anyway?
  • Have you noticed a building up of GHB tolerance?
  • Have you ever experienced G withdrawal symptoms? 

This test does not substitute for the opinion of a qualified physician.

Common GHB Drug Side Effects

While more research still needs to be done to effectively chart out the long-term GHB drug effects, the short-term side effects of Liquid G can be a mix of pleasure, danger, and vulnerability. 

On the one hand, when taken in small amounts the GHB high can bring about several pleasurable side effects such as: 

  • Feelings of relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Lack of inhibitions
  • Tranquility 

But there are a host of negative side effects that come with abusing GHB as well. Not only can they be uncomfortable (and deadly), they can also be used to coerce people into doing things they normally wouldn’t do. 

These negative side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease body temperature
  • Muscle twitches
  • Loss of coordination
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Death 

The combination of these symptoms can also be deadly in some cases. 

For instance, someone who has taken (or been given) high amounts of Liquid G may first lose consciousness due to its sedative qualities. But given that the drug may also cause vomiting, this individual may actually choke to death on their own vomit. 

It is crucial then that if someone you know has taken GHB, they should be watched and accompanied at all times. Otherwise, they’re risking death.

Liquid G Symptoms of Withdrawal

As the body becomes more and more used to having GHB in its systems, it begins to compensate by adapting to its presence.

It alters the amount of chemicals and hormones produced, reduces the sensitivity of certain receptors, and engages in a variety of other measures to offset the effects of the regular exposure to Liquid G.

This is called building tolerance.

When the body is no longer regularly exposed to GHB, these systems struggle to get back to normal and, as a result, show signs of withdrawals

For individuals addicted to G, such symptoms could include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion and delirium
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 

And while these Liquid G symptoms of withdrawal are terrifying enough as it is, detoxing from GHB without the guidance of a qualified medical professional may actually result in death

Similar to the effects of rapid alcohol withdrawal, GHB withdrawals may result in the development of a condition known as GHB withdrawal syndrome. It is characterized by delirium, tremor, and potentially fatal seizures

Given the risk of death, then, anyone attempting to detox from G should first consult a physician before trying it on their own.

Like most other illicit substances, it is possible to overdose on Liquid G. What’s more, too much Gamma Hydroxybutyrate in the system can eventually lead to a complete shutdown of the respiratory system and eventually death.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of Liquid G overdose so you can spot the signs and get professional help:

  • Severe respiratory depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Respiratory failure
  • Suppressed gag reflex
  • Combativeness
  • Persistent unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Death 

When combined with other illicit substances like benzodiazepines or even alcohol, these effects can be even further intensified and make the risk of death even higher.

Getting Help for a GHB Addiction

GHB is more than some harmless party drug that can be abused every now and then with no potential for danger. The hard truth of the matter is that Liquid G can actually be incredibly deadly, especially when abused alongside alcohol and other party drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, Ketamine and Rohypnol. 

That’s why it’s absolutely critical to get professional help before the problem gets any worse. Not doing so just might end up being a fatal mistake.

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