Club Drug Use | Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

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What is GHB?

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is an illegal drug that is used as a muscle builder, a "party drug" and a "date-rape" drug. GHB is available in liquid form, powder form or as a pill. GHB has been linked to many serious illnesses and even deaths. GHB has many names.

A certain form of GHB, sodium oxybate, (brand name: Xyrem) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat some of the symptoms of narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder). In people with narcolepsy, Xyrem can reduce daytime sleepiness and reduce cataplexy (weak or paralyzed muscles) attacks. However, Xyrem is only available with a prescription and its use is very tightly restricted.

What are the dangers of GHB use?

There are many side effects of GHB. They include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Trouble breathing
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Impaired judgment
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

These effects usually appear 10 to 20 minutes after a person takes the drug.

Common street names of GHB

  • Blue nitro
  • Cherry fX bombs
  • Cherry meth
  • Easy lay
  • Everclear
  • Firewater
  • Gamma G
  • Georgia homeboy
  • GHB
  • G.H. revitalizer
  • Gib
  • Goops
  • Great hormones at bedtime
  • Grievous bodily harm
  • G-riffick
  • Growth hormone booster
  • Insom-X
  • Invigorate
  • Lemon fX drops
  • Liquid ecstasy
  • Liquid E
  • Liquid X
  • Longevity
  • Natural sleep-500
  • Nature's quaalude
  • Orange fX rush
  • Organic quaalude
  • Oxy-sleep
  • Poor man's heroin
  • Remforce
  • Revivarant
  • Salty water
  • Scoop
  • Soap
  • Somatomax PM
  • Somsanit
  • Vita-G
  • Water
  • Wolfies
  • Zonked

Should I be worried about GHB?

Yes. Because GHB has no color or smell, it can easily be slipped into drinks and food. Even a very small amount of GHB may cause a person to "black out" (become unconscious). This is why GHB is often used as a "date-rape" drug.

What should I tell my children about GHB?

GHB is used most often by teenagers and young adults. Talk with your children about the dangers of GHB. Warn them not to accept drinks from other people or drink from containers they didn't open themselves. Tell them to keep their drinks with them all the time, even if they go into the bathroom. If you have any questions, ask your doctor.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff.

Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB): A Newer Drug of Abuse by T O'Connell, M.D., L Kaye, Pharm.D. and JJ Plosay III, M.D. (American Family Physician December 1, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20001201/2478.html)

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 09/00

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