GHB/ GBL - a heads up
GHB, also known as grievous bodily harm, is pretty common around Victoria. Even though not many young people accessing services say GHB is their problem it is an important drug to know about the effects and risks.
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is depressant, it slows down the rate of in which our brain sends chemical messages to the rest of the body. It used to be used as a legal anaesthetic. Although it slows the bodies reactions down it is mostly (but not always) used as a drug at parties and clubs.
GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) and 1,4-BD are chemicals that are closely related to GHB. Once GBL or 1,4-BD enter the body, they convert to GHB almost immediately. When GLB and 1,4-BD are made industrially ingredients are added to it which makes people vomit after they have consumed.
It's also known as ‘G’, fantasy, grievous bodily harm (GBH), liquid ecstasy, liquid E, liquid X, and blue nitro. It’s pretty common around Melbourne and Victoria but not many young people who get help from drug and alcohol services say GHB is their main concern.
Clear liquid with astringent bitter or salty taste odourless, usually sold in small bottles or vials or in soy sauce fish capsual. Also comes as a bright blue liquid, known as ‘blue nitro', and less commonly as crystal powder.
GHB is usually swallowed but is sometimes injected. It can make you feel really happy, calm, sleepy and reduce your inhibitions. If taken orally the high is usually felt within 15-20 minutes and lasts between three and four hours. If injected the high is usually felt immediately.
Weight, health, amount, frequency of usage, quality of drug all play a role in how GHB effects a person.
If you take too much GHB, you may be very confused or not be able to talk, you may sweat heaps and vomit. You may also have irregular or shallow breathing, involuntary muscle contractions, and you may pass out and be hard to wake up. An ambulance should be called if anything like this happens.
If you use GHB then if nothing else, make sure you know these ways to be as safe as possible. Here are some tips to stay safe:
- Start with a small dose as it is hard to know the strength of the drug
- Buy from a known and trusted source so they can enquire about strength and purity.
- There is a really small difference between a nice dose and enough to make you overdose
- It’s important to know that mixing alcohol and other drugs including prescription medication with GHB will increase the likelihood of overdose.
- Use in a safe environment with someone sober and knows how to help if anything does go wrong
- Avoid taking more GHB if it has not achieved the desired effect.
There have been no reported deaths of a person who has overdosed on GHB if they have been taken to hospital.
Want more? This info is the bare minimum to give you the heads up. The ADF’s fact sheet has heaps more info.