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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A & E show Intervention takes a look at the drug GHB

FDA warning against products containing GHB an...Image via Wikipedia
If you watched this past edition of the Award winning show Intervention on A & E then you saw the story of Tiffany, a former beauty queen turned junkie. This particular episode gave insights into a drug that for many may be unfamiliar, GHB. Because there are very few statistics and studies on this particular drug and it's addictive effects, it is of great importance that it be brought to the public through awareness. Here are the facts currently known about this addictive and potentially deadly substance.


What is GHB?
Gamma Hydroxybutyrate. GHB,also known as liquid X, Georgia home boy, Goop, gamma-oh, and grievous bodily harm, is a central nervous system depressant abused for its ability to produce euphoric and hallucinatory states and its alleged ability to release a growth hormone and stimulate muscle growth. Although GHB was originally considered a safe and "natural" food supplement and was sold in health food stores, the medical community soon became aware that it caused overdoses and other health problems.

What are its short-term effects?
At lower doses, GHB can relieve anxiety and produce relaxation. Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea, loss of muscle control and difficulty breathing. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating.


What are its long-term effects?
As the dose increases, the sedative effects may result in sleep and eventual coma or death. Other effects include difficulty thinking, hallucinations, slurred speech, headaches and amnesia. GHB has reportedly been used in cases of date rape. Because GHB is odorless and tasteless, it can be slipped into someone’s drink without detection.

Date rape and GHB

The drug  GHB has been identified as a date rape drug,much the same way as alcohol and potent benzodiazepines, often known colloquially as "Rohypnol", the trade name of a potent hypnotic benzodiazepine, flunitrazepam. It has a salty taste but, as it is colourless and odorless, it has been described as "very easy to add to drinks" that mask the flavor. GHB has been used in cases of drug-related sexual assault, usually when the victim is vulnerable due to intoxication with a sedative, generally alcohol. However it is difficult to establish how often GHB is used to facilitate rape as it is difficult to detect in a urine sample after a day, and many victims may not recall the rape until some time after this.[

GHB, produced as a sodium salt (sodium oxybate), may provide a noticeable salty character to the drink, although individual sensitivity to the taste of salt varies.[ GHB can also be produced as different salts, some of which may not have a taste as distinctive as the sodium salt (e.g., magnesium oxybate), or much less commonly in the unstable free-acid form.
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