What is GHB/GBL?
GHB (gammahydroxybutyrate), or G, is a liquid drug that you drink. It gives you a similar feeling to alcohol as it works on the same receptors in the brain. Like alcohol, it’s used for binging but you can also become addicted to it. The high lasts for about two hours and (unlike alcohol) it doesn’t give you a hangover. G is great for dancing and for sex as it’s one of the few drugs that enable a hard-on. It makes users confident to take off their shirts and feel like the hottest thing in the club. Some people also take it if they can’t fall asleep, but they are unaware that in fact they fall into a G-induced coma rather than sleep. Because of the many ‘benefits’ users get from G it’s easy to get addicted to it.
How does GHB/GBL affect my health?
Like many other drugs, G increases the desire for sex and reduces inhibitions. You are therefore a lot more likely to put yourself at risk of HIV and other STIs by having unprotected sex. It is easy to overdose on G and enter into state of unconsciousness, leaving you vulnerable to sexual assault. Some people use G to take the edge off crystal, which decreases your inhibitions even further and so you are that much more likely to end up taking risks. Getting the dosage right is difficult because the strength of G varies with each bottle, therefore it is easy to take more than your body can handle and it could result in overdose, coma, respiratory collapse and even death. Some people take G if they can’t sleep but they don’t realise that they fall into a coma. Most people do wake up from it with no side effects whatsoever but there are a few who do not, so if you use G it’s important to dose correctly and not mix it with alcohol. Because G is a relatively new drug, it's likely that some of the deaths that have taken place in the past few years have not been documented.
G is also physically addictive: many users find themselves dosing many times a day, just to avoid difficult and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. You can become addicted even in the space of a week if using regularly. Stopping ‘cold turkey’ can result in confusion, anxiety, panic, hallucinations and delirium and, in some cases, respiratory collapse. People using G dependently ought to seek medical support before attempting to stop their use. If you have been using G regularly for a week or more and begin to feel anxious or confused between doses, seek medical support from a drug service or A&E.
Can I mix GHB/GBL with alcohol and other drugs?
Drinking alcohol while under the influence of GHB can slow down the central nervous system and affect your respiratory system. This is very dangerous and should be avoided. Taking other drugs with GHB is likely to increase its effectiveness and could prove dangerous.
Is GHB/GBL illegal?
GHB and GBL are illegal Class C drugs with punishable offenses of up to two years in prison for possession, five years for dealing and up to fourteen years for supply. GHB and GBL are linked to drug-assisted sexual assault and administering them to people with the intent to force sex on them is punishable by ten years in prison by the 2003 Sexual Offenses Act.
What else is GHB/GBL known as?
Other names for GHB and GBL include G, Gina, Liquid E, Liquid X, GBH and Liquid Ecstasy. The most used name on the gay scene in London is G.
What do I need to know if I am planning to take GHB/GBL?
It’s very difficult to measure the correct dose of G. As with all illicit drugs, there are no quality control standards for G, therefore each dose could be different every time you take it. If you are planning to take G, make sure you take small doses and leave at least two hours between each dose, otherwise you could overdose or fall into a coma. Don’t drink alcohol and don’t take other depressant drugs when you are on G because the combination can increase your risk of overdose. If you or any of your friends are starting to feel unwell or start vomiting, call an ambulance immediately. You can sometimes get so high on G that you may be on the floor rolling around sexually but you might not necessarily be inviting consent. So if you are in a sauna cubicle or sex party, you may look horny and conscious but you are not and people might take sexual advantage of you. For this reason, it’s important to be informed and have people that you trust around you.
In order to avoid overdose or falling into a G-induced coma, it’s crucial to get the dosing right. To get more information about how to dose properly, you can visit the Antidote website where you can find more information including a video on how to dose your G correctly.
Have a read at David Stuart's FS Magazine column on using G for sex: Off Your Face with David Stuart.
You might also find this blog post about a sex party while on G in an unfamiliar city particularly interesting as well: My G-Filled Night in Brighton.