Gamma hydroxybutyrate—more commonly known as GHB for short—is best to help you fall asleep, but in any other form it is a Schedule I drug. This means that if you buy, sell, make, give away, or receive it in any form you could be arrested and put in jail for a long time.
GHB is also known as a date rape drug, but it is just as popular as ecstasy among young people ages twelve to twenty. When combined with other drugs like marijuana or alcohol, the effects range from extreme euphoria to death, depending on the individual. But there is much more to know about GHB.
In some social circles, GHB is even more popular than MDMA (ecstasy), quickly becoming the most popular drug for young people all over the United States. It is also very popular in Great Britain and many parts of Europe, and it is interesting to note that as many kids have tried GHB as have tried alcohol or cigarettes from eighth grade to college age. Although it sounds insignificant, nearly 5% of all high schoolers have used GHB in the last year, but consider the fact that 5% could be hundreds of thousands of teenagers and you begin to see the bigger picture.
Many teenagers compare GHB to ecstasy in terms of how it affects the body, including the feelings of euphoria and relaxation or stress relief. However, the two drugs are almost entirely different in terms of composition and ingredients, because ecstasy resembles an amphetamine far more closely than GHB. Since GHB is often a lot cheaper than ecstasy, it is replacing ecstasy in popularity as well, simply due to the fact that you can buy more when it costs less.
The average seller of GHB is not much older than the average buyer, ranging in age from about eighteen to thirty years old in most social circles. One interesting note is that although this high number of teens report having at least tried the drug voluntarily within the previous year, some authorities are saying that the drug is on the decline, with fewer deaths and accidental overdoses than in prior years. Instead, knowledge has become so readily available that perhaps those who do use the drug are better educated beforehand to avoid more of the risk of death or overdose.
Interesting Facts about GHB
GHB is not only a chemical substance synthesized by those who want to sell it: its origins can be traced to a chemical naturally occurring in the human body, and it is also found in some red meats and citrus fruits. There are trace amounts of it in beer too, which is why so many people are able to hide the drug in glasses of beer or wine and it masks the taste very well. In fact, since GHB is odorless and colorless, the only way to detect it is a slightly bitter or salty taste.
Another interesting fact is that GHB causes short-term memory loss, and many victims of GHB as a date rape drug do not realize that they have been victims until the drug has long since passed from their system. Not everyone who is slipped GHB is raped; many thieves are resorting to this method instead of old-school muggings. Something else that you do not hear very often: not all victims of date rape are women. Men are often victims too, but they are more susceptible to feelings of social stigma and male rape victims are far less likely to report the crime.
It is not the deep sleep or paralysis that causes the most deaths for those who take or are given GHB; far more often it is the vomiting that does the most damage. While the body is paralyzed, you cannot turn your head or sit up to vomit, leading to vomit aspiration into the lungs. Unless someone is watching out for you and helps quickly, you could choke to death on your own vomit.
Common Places GHB is Sold
Unlike a lot of other recreational drugs, GHB is not usually sold in clandestine deals behind closed doors. In fact, it is usually sold in the biggest quantities at parties and clubs, where there are hundreds—even thousands—of people buying and using the drug. College parties are another common place that GHB is sold, especially large parties such as fraternity parties where there are a lot of people, a ready supply of alcohol and other drinks, and inhibitions tend to be lowered anyway.
Some experts say that having something small to eat right after ingesting the drug can help prevent the paralysis, but the drug begins to take effect within twenty minutes of taking it in most cases. The effects last up to three hours for one dose, and even longer if the first dose is followed by subsequent doses before the drug wears off. This happens sometimes with those who are not familiar with the drug and ingest too much, risking overdose or worse, or for those using it to incapacitate someone for robbery or sexual assault purposes.
To sum up, although GHB is notoriously known as a date rape drug, mentioned with the likes of Rohypnol (roofies) and even vitamin K (ketamine), there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of young people who take the drug voluntarily to escape reality for a short time or combat depression.
Whether use is on the decline or staying steady but with more informed users, it is still a Schedule I drug and if the authorities find it on your person, in your car, or anywhere that can be classified as your possession you could wind up in jail for a long time. This is especially true if it could be reasonably believed that you might have used the drug for illicit purposes, such as those mentioned above, including if you are on a date, at a party, in a club, or if you possess other items used for these purposes.