The Dark Side of GHB: Something to Be Concerned About

Recreational use of GHB is more harmful than you think...
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Masha Lukashenko
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Recreational use of GHB is more harmful than you think...
GHB or "Liquid Ecstasy"

Most of us, who listen to any kind of electronic music, are no strangers to the drugs that revolve around the scenes. I would like to think that the majority of us are also not unfamiliar with many of the unpleasant and possibly lethal consequences associated with them. I have spent a good couple of weeks researching and looking up information for my two previous articles, one on the safety of patrons at music events and the other on the existing rape culture within our scenes. After paddling through mounds of information, I came across a serious concern.

What worried me wasn’t the existence of the drugs used in dance culture, but the belief that there is such a thing as a “responsible drug” or “responsible high”.

Buzzfeed news reporter, Amanda Lewis, wrote an article titled, “The ‘Responsible High' That is Also A Rape Drugs”.[3] Her article sheds light on the growing popularity of the drug, GHB, in the local and underground music scene. GHB is known for being used as a “date rape” drug and is now being used recreational to get high.

GHB stands for gamma-hydroxybutyrate and it is a powerful anesthetic. The only FDA approved medical use of GHB is found in Xylem, a drug prescribed to patients with narcolepsy (a rare neurological disorder) to help them sleep. GHB acts as a depressant on the central nervous system and is used recreationally because of its euphoric effects.[2] The appeal of GHB is that it is a quick recovery, if you follow the rules. Users will take small capfuls of the GHB, which comes most commonly in liquid form, in intervals throughout the night and you cannot mix it with alcohol.[3]

GHB sounds harmless and fun with its ideal characteristics, but people forget that there's a really harsh spectrum of this drug and it is not that difficult to get introduced to it. GHB is very easy to overdo and unlike alcohol, which can make you feel really shitty, a GHB overdose will land you in the hospital in critical condition, if you're lucky. Lewis wrote, “You are guaranteed all the perks of coke or MDMA with no hangover. But have just a few sips too many, or give in to temptation to take a shot, and you could wind up limp, like a rag doll, with little control over your body.”[4]

Some other reactions of GHB[5]:

- Dizziness
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Disorientation
- Loss of inhibitions
- Aggression or belligerent behavior
- Seizures
- Decreased respiration
- Suppression of gag reflex
- Intense drowsiness
- COMA or COMA-LIKE SLEEP
- No recollection of what happened to you while you were under the influence

Those last two reactions listed, alone, make me reconsider experimenting with GHB. The fact that people are putting themselves into these dangerously vulnerable situations is cause for some serious re-education on the subject. “Today’s drugs may at some point render a victim unconscious, but even worse, at least initially, and, depending on which drug is used and/or the amount given, the victim may appear to participate or may even appear to be the aggressor early on in the attack” was pointed out by Trinka Porrata who wrote for Project GHB.

There is something to be said about using a drug recreationally when its history is correlated with rape incidents. There is no antidote for a GHB overdose, there is no screening test for it and GHB leaves your system in a few short hours. Once you awake from a GHB-induced sleep, you are going to spend a better part of your day attempting to recollect your memory of the night before. Too perfect of a drug, in an environment already having an increase in the desensitization of rape in the culture.

The purpose of this article wasn’t to point fingers at members of the music scene or even insinuate that use of this drug is going to guarantee a rape scenario. No, the point of this was to open up the notion that maybe there should be a limit as to how far we go down the rabbit hole with all of the drug experimentation.

What does it say about a culture that accepts a drug that facilitates sexual assault in the most devious of ways? How well would you trust yourself not have one beer throughout the night while on GHB? What is going to happen to you when you go too far and end up in a condition that makes you lose total control of your body?

Seriously think about it... 


[1] http://www.projectghb.org/content/drug-facilitated-sexual-assault

[2] http://legacy.butler.edu/counseling-services/victim-advocate/date-rape-drugs/

[3] http://www.buzzfeed.com/amandachicagolewis/the-responsible-high-that-is-also-a-date-rape-drug

[4] http://www.buzzfeed.com/amandachicagolewis/the-responsible-high-that-is-also-a-date-rape-drug
[5] http://legacy.butler.edu/counseling-services/victim-advocate/date-rape-drugs/

[6] http://www.projectghb.org/content/drug-facilitated-sexual-assault