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What You Need to Know About Drugs: GHB

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What It Is: GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is illegally produced in home basement labs, usually in the form of a liquid that has no odor or color. It is known as a designer drug because it is specifically made for the purpose of getting people high.

Like Ecstasy, GHB is a popular drug with club-goers and those who go to "rave parties," including teens and young adults. Its side effects can be very dangerous, especially if the drug is mixed with alcohol.

Sometimes Called:

Liquid Ecstasy, G, Georgia Home Boy, Cups

How It's Used:

Swallowed (in liquid or powder form, which is mixed with water, or as tablets)

What It Does to You:

GHB causes both a euphoric high (intense rush of happy feelings) and hallucinations. GHB has caused many young people to need emergency medical care. Because the liquid is odorless and colorless, GHB diluted in drinks is virtually undetectable and sometimes is slipped unknowingly into someone else's drinks.

Side effects of GHB use include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting (puking), and vision changes. People who take GHB may become unconscious (pass out), stop breathing, and go into a coma. Using GHB can kill you.

Because both GHB and alcohol are depressants, mixing the two is very, very dangerous and can be deadly — even if someone has only taken low doses of the drug.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014

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