There are so many types of drugs out there – prescription, over the counter, illegal – with the potential for abuse and addiction that it can be hard to keep track. You’ve probably heard of most of the really popular ones, like heroin, cocaine, OxyContin, meth, etc., but there are hundreds of substances out there that people have found ways to abuse. Here’s something that you probably won’t have heard of, unless you’re a doctor or scientist – Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid. If that doesn’t sound familiar, how about GHB? Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Goop, Georgia Home Boy, or Easy Lay? These are all names for a depressant that’s common among club kids and people in the rave scene.
GHB was once sold and promoted in health food stores to improve physical performance, reduce stress, induce sleep, build muscle, and burn fat. It comes as a colorless liquid or a white powder. On its own, it’s classified as a Schedule I drug by the DEA, meaning it has no known medical use and a high potential for abuse. However, it’s also an ingredient in a prescription medication called sodium oxybate or Xyrem, which is approved to treat two of the symptoms of narcolepsy, suddenly muscle weakness and excessive daytime sleepiness. It is used sometimes in France and Italy as an intravenous anesthetic, and it is also used in Italy to treat alcohol addiction and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
GHB is abused for its euphoric and sedative properties. It has been used as a date rape drug, because it is odorless and colorless and can easily be disguised in a drink. The effects of GHB, especially when combined with alcohol, can cause disorientation, confusion, loss of coordination, blackouts and memory loss, which not only makes victims more easily subdued but makes it less likely that they’ll remember the attack afterward. The clinical trials for the use of Xyrem for narcolepsy were finishing up at about the same time GHB was becoming well known as a club drug and date rape drug. This might explain why GHB is a Schedule I drug and Xyrem is Schedule III, but abuse of Xyrem is subject to the same penalties of a Schedule I drug.
GHB is considered a designer drug, meaning it’s produced illegally in laboratories. It’s usually packaged in vials or small bottles and sold in liquid form by the capful. Long term use of GHB can result in addiction. Withdrawal can occur if you stop taking it suddenly, leading to anxiety, tremor, insomnia, confusion, delirium, and hallucinations. An overdose can result in unconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate, severe respiratory depression, decreased body temperature, vomiting, nausea, coma, or death.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.