Commonly used names include: ‘Liquid Ecstasy’. Chemical name is Gamma-Hydroxy-Butyric Acid.

The Law:

GHB is now a Class C drug, having been reclassified in July 2003.

There have been reports of GHB being used in sexual assaults and rapes. Under Section 61 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is a specific offence for a person to administer a substance to somebody (or to cause somebody to take a substance) without their consent and with the intention of stupefying or overpowering them to enable to offender or any person to engage in sexual activity with them. This offence carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. It is worth noting that the definition of a “substance” can also include alcohol.

How it is taken:
GHB is produced as a salt and takes the form of a white powder, which is dissolved into water to produce an odourless and colourless liquid, with a slightly salty taste. Users can purchase GHB in either powder or liquid form.

Effects:
GHB was originally developed as an anaesthetic.
In small doses it acts as a stimulant, but in larger doses the anaesthetic effects take hold and can lead to unconsciousness and in some cases amnesia (i.e. loss of memory).

The effects can last up to a day.

It is also sometimes used as an alternative to, or together with anabolic steroids, as it can help to build muscle tissue.

Risks:

Abuse of GHB is very dangerous, and it can be fatal in overdoses or when mixed with alcohol and other drugs.

Overdoses can happen quite quickly, and can be fatal. Signs include drowsiness, sickness, vomiting, loss of consciousness and breathing problems.

High doses can dangerously slow down vital functions of the body, such as breathing and heart-rate, and can lead to coma and death.

Exessive use can lead to sickness, stiff muscles, fits and collapse.

The long-term effects of abusing the drug are unknown.

Incorrectly produced GHB can burn the mouth.

As stated above, reports have been made of GHB being used in sexual assaults. It is always wise to use caution and common sense when accepting drinks from other people, as it is possible to “spike” drinks with other substances. Alternatively, the drink may contain more alcohol than you expect, which can be hard to detect