Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a type of drug that is popular among teens and young adults. Like other designer drugs, people commonly use this drug at clubs and parties. Since the drug depresses the central nervous system, officials refer to it as the date rape drug. When mixed with alcohol, it can cause a person to black out. Some other names for this drug include liquid ecstasy, G, cups, and Georgia home boy.
What Does GHB Look Like?
Forms of the Drug
GHB comes in the following forms:
- Clear liquid
- White powder
GHB has no color or smell, which is why people put it in drinks. When someone adds this to a drink, it is virtually undetectable. Those who make the drug usually manufacture it in their home using homemade recipes and kits purchased on the Internet. The two primary ingredients are gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and sodium hydroxide. Manufacturers commonly use these substances in drain cleaners and stripping solvents.
How Do People Use GHB?
People use GHB so that they can get high. The federal government classifies GHB as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse. Since 1992, more than 3,500 people have died from overdosing on this dangerous drug. Many young people use it as a recreational drug while they attend parties or raves. Besides that, some bodybuilders use the drug to stimulate muscle growth. Since GHB is colorless and odorless, criminals can even add it to drinks to drug unsuspecting victims.
What are the Side Effects?
Just like other Schedule I drugs, GHB can negatively impact a person in many ways. For example, more than 1,000 people visit the emergency room each year due to this drug. Those who abuse it are often unaware of the consequences. GHB can have both short-term and long-term side effects.
- Loss of muscle control
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty thinking
- Slurred speech
Why Do People Use This Drug?
Most people who use GHB like that it serves as a pleasure enhancer. The drug depresses the central nervous system, which induces intoxication. In addition, some people also use it as a sedative. For example, they may use this drug to reduce the effects of cocaine, LSD or methamphetamines. Unfortunately, those who use it to prevent physical withdrawal symptoms are still harming their body.
Over time, those who abuse GHB can develop an addiction to the drug. Heavy users often develop a tolerance for it, which means that they need to take heavier doses of the drug to experience the same high. When a GHB addict tries to stop using the drug, he or she can go into withdrawal in less than an hour. The withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks.
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Bone and muscle aches
- Chest pain
Those who have a GHB addiction should check into an inpatient treatment center for help. Inpatient treatment centers are a safe option because they have a trained staff to monitor each patient’s health and well-being. Addicts who attempt to withdraw from the drug at home usually fail. Inpatient treatment centers are helpful because they have both counselors and physicians on hand. The staff members can help make the withdrawal process a little more bearable and the outcome more satisfactory.