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Drugs of Abuse

Drug Type: GHB GBL

Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) (a depressant)

Gamma Butyrate Lactone (GBL) (a depressant)

Federal Government made GHB/GBL illegal in February 2000.

Other Names: GHB, G, Liquid X, liquid G, Georgia Home Boy, goop, gamma-oh and grievous bodily harm. GBL is found in over-the-counter products such as Blue-Nitro, Revivarant, Renewtrient.

What it looks like: Clear liquid (similar to water but with a heavier, oily quality) Powdered form is white in color

How it is used: GHB and GBL are taken orally and are frequently combined with water, alcohol, other liquids or other drugs like Ecstasy or Ketamine.

NOTE: GBL converts to GHB inside the body.

Effect of the drug: Physical and mental effects vary with the dose but are similar to being intoxicated with alcohol without the hangover. They include disinhibition, confusion, slow heart rate, vomiting, shallow breathing, sleep-like trance, drowsiness, dizziness and nausea. GHB and GBL are known as steroid alternatives. They have alleged muscle-building effects, and allegedly allow muscles to recover more quickly after a workout.

Negative Effects/Overdose Effects: Overdoses are often the result of mixing GHB/GBL with alcohol or other drugs

  • Unconsciousness or incapacitation
  • Seizures
  • Severe respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death

What to look for: Appearance of intoxication, as if "drunk" but with little, if any, odor of alcohol. A sleep-like trance is very common among users. Eyes may roll up, showing only the white part of the eye, as if the body wants to sleep, but cannot shut down. Also, someone under the influence of GHB may awake suddenly, without explanation from unconsciousness.

Paraphernalia Associated with Drug Use: GHB and GBL in liquid form are transported in anything that can store a liquid, but water bottles, eye-drop dispenser bottles, clear plastic milk jugs or dark brown glass jugs are popular. Look for GHB and GBL in the refrigerator. GHB/GBL can be ordered via the Internet Examine boxes or shipping labels for signs that these substances were shipped. Usually the company caters to health enthusiasts or bodybuilders. Look for Internet printouts with information about GHB or GBL or perhaps a recipe for manufacturing it. Look for paint stripping chemicals, dry-cleaning chemicals, copy machine fluids, or any chemical which contains butyrolacton (or lactone). GBL and GHB are made from butyrolacton. When butyrolacton is mixed with sodium hydroxide, GHB is produced. Sodium hydroxide can be found in lye, readily available in supermarkets. A large, unexplainable amount of any of the above-mentioned products/chemicals may indicate that GHB and GBL are being manufactured. Look for pH measuring papers or glass beakers which may indicate the drug is being manufactured.

Potential for Abuse: GHB/GBL can be easily found in nightclubs, at "Rave" parties, or college campuses. Increasingly, GHB/GBL are being produced in kitchen labs, making it readily available locally. Although slightly more expensive than the average illicit drug, GHB/GBL’s effects last longer than most other drugs. An ounce of GHB, a usual dose, can be purchased for $15 to $20 dollars. GHB/GBL have a great potential for abuse, as both drugs are addictive. GHB addiction can take weeks or months to occur, but GBL addiction can occur in days. What makes GHB/GBL so dangerous, is that the potency of the drug varies widely and cannot be known. Therefore, the potential for overdose and death is clearly high. Most disturbing is the emergence of GHB as a "date-rape" drug. Victims are easily incapacitated with GHB and will have little recollection, if any, of the attack.

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