Gamma Hydroxybutyrate or otherwise known as GHB has been out on the market since 1963. Street names of GHB include Liquid Ecstasy, Georgia Home Boy, and Cups.
Doctors have abandoned it as a treatment for narcolepsy because of its certain euphoric side effect. But, in 1980’s, it gained popularity because of the fat burning side effects of the drug. Some fat burners and muscle developer contains GHB to lose weight faster. The drug targeted gym fanatics and people who compete in bodybuilding competitions.
After several years in the market, the medical community discovered some disease-causing properties. The Food and Drug Administration banned the use of GHB in 1990. However, chemists producing this drug found different ways of switching the ingredients. They use GHB to help people who are having difficulties sleeping and those suffering from insomnia. In 1999, the FDA put a total ban on the drug as it is not supposed to be for human consumption. Also, the agency labeled the drug as “Schedule I” drug which means that it is illegal to consume and sell the drug. The government imposed a fine up to $100,000 penalty and incarceration for people guilty of possessing and selling the drug.
Usually, GHB comes in liquid form and has no odor or color. But can provide a high feeling. Most users of this illegal drug are those people who are fond of going into clubs and rave parties. Commonly teenagers and young adults fall prey to the GHB addiction.
Quick Facts about GHB Addiction
- Since 1990, the US government tracks about 15,600 people who suffered from GHB overdose
- 72 people died because of GHV since the DEA started to keep track of the drug in 1990. It was the same year when the FDA banned the use of the drug.
- Usually packed in plastic bottles, the drug is sold in the streets for as little $5 per dose.
- GHB contains highly addictive properties and withdrawal symptoms may occur as early as 3 hours from the last drug intake. A detox process from GHB can last up to 14 days.
- Women ages between 16 years old to 24 years old are at risk of developing GHB addiction compare to other age groups.
- 42% of women who used the drug may have unwanted sex but choose not to tell anyone.
- Around 3% of people die each year because of GHB overdose. Users may use the drug to help them sleep better because of the sedative properties. However, the drug can do more harm than helping them on their sleeping problems.
- 80% of young adults under the age of 30 may have used the drug at some point in their lives. s
Unfortunately, more GHB deaths occurred that was not indicated in the national statistics report. It is difficult to keep track of the drug because of how it is used. GHB is not only present in clubs but is part of the body building and working community. Many used it but deny any involvement because it is illegal. This means that the 72 deaths recorded by the DEA can go higher.
Signs and Symptoms of GHB
Within a few weeks of constant GHB use, users can develop GHB addiction. Usually, users take a regular dose of the drug every hour or so. They might even take larger doses at night.
One of the main characterizations of GHB addiction is the compulsive behavior to take the drug. Users may also display an inability to sleep and cannot function normally without the drug. They may also develop strange behaviors which are far from their usual self. Head jerking serves as another prominent sign of GHB addiction. People addicted to the drug display the odd behavior every 15 minutes but may not remember doing so.
A person who is using GHB can display several signs and symptoms including but may not be limited to the following:
- engaging in wild body motions
- falling repeatedly
- flailing their arms and legs
Their facial expressions may be a frantic series of grimaces and eye-rolling. A video of a Russian man who had apparently overdosed on this drug showed him rolling his shirtless body back and forth across a concrete plaza. He completely disregards the pain or his injury.
Health physicians reported that the common signs GHB users normally display the following:
- slurred speech
- odd or uncharacteristic body language
Should a person display any of these common signs and symptoms seek medical help immediately.
What are the side effects of GHB?
GHB can produce detrimental side effects to the body. This is particularly true especially once combined with other alcohol. It can even lead to death.
There are several reported side effects of GHB, the most common are:
- loss of consciousness
- auditory and visual hallucinations
When mixed with alcohol and other sedatives or hypnotics it can result in nausea, vomiting, and aspiration. Sometimes it often leads to dangerous central nervous system complications and respiratory depressions.
Before addiction occurs, drug abusers develop a tolerance for the drug. Tolerance to GHB occurs when a person’s body gets accustomed to a certain amount of the drug being in his or her system. Individuals develop a high tolerance level when excessive amounts are used. GHB dependence precedes a person developing a high tolerance. When individuals are dependent on a substance, they feel they have to have it to function, relieve stress or relax.
GHB is usually abused recreationally in a club setting or in a party atmosphere among friends. The fact that the drug is used casually can make it difficult to realize that you have a serious problem with dependence on the drug.
If you have experienced mounting negative consequences as a result of your use of GHB or any other drug and still find it difficult to quit, or if that describes somebody close to you, you might be dealing with a serious, life-threatening addiction. Since GHB is difficult to measure, overdosing is a real concern.