GHB

GHB is a chemical sold in liquid form that can be very dangerous. It has short-term effects, and some known long-term ones. It doesn't take much to OD on GHB, and overdose can be fatal. It's addictive, and you can get hooked. If you're having issues with it, you can get help.

This can help with:

  • Information about GHB, GBH, fantasy or liquid e 
  • Making decisions about GHB 
  • Going clubbing often and doing it safely
  • Knowing where to get help with drugs 
  • Info about GHB overdoses
Black and white images of guys face

What is GHB?

Gamma-hydroxybutyrat (GHB) is a liquid that people also call fantasy, GBH, grievous bodily harm, liquid e and liquid ecstasy. It's actually a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain (but that doesn't make it harmless). It used to be sold to help people sleep and calm down, but has since been banned. It's a dangerous drug that people often use to spike drinks.

What does it do?

Drugs will always affect people differently. Also, GHB will have different effects at different doses, and a small increase in the dose can mean very different results. After taking GHB, someone might:
  • Feel good about themselves, relaxed and confident 
  • Feel sleepy, or pass out 
  • Feel dizzy, sick or have a headache 
  • Really enjoy touching things
Higher doses could make someone: 
  • Confused and agitated
  • Very sleepy 
  • Hallucinate or have difficulty seeing 
  • Vomit 
  • Go into a coma 
  • Stop breathing

Overdose

Even a small amount of GHB can cause an overdose. Another danger is that there’s no quality control over illegal drugs. There’s no way to tell if GHB has been made properly, and it could be poisonous because of contamination. Signs that could indicate someone has overdosed on GHB include:

  • It's not possible to wake them up
  • They're talking nonsense, sweating or vomiting lots, and have shallow, irregular breathing
  • They're not able to stand, have twitching or tensing muscles
People haven't been using GHB long enough for us to know what the long-term effects are.

Getting hooked

It is possible to get hooked on GHB or to develop a tolerance, where you feel like you need more to get the same effect. This makes an OD more likely. You can also get withdrawals if you become addicted and then try to stop. Signs of GHB withdrawal include:

  • Confusion
  • Not being able to relax
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of dread
  • Paranoia 
  • Body shakes and cramps
  • Sweating heaps 
  • Hallucinations or being delirious 
  • Irregular heartbeat
You can get help if you or someone you know is addicted to GHB or another drug, or are trying to quit. You can talk to a doctor, counsellor, nurse or other health worker. You can also contact the Australian Drug Information Network.

Things to think about

Other dangers people run into with GHB are:
  • It mixes very poorly with other drugs (especially depressants like valium or alcohol) as well as anti-depressants and sleeping tablets.
  • It's easy to overdose on GHB, which can lead to death.
  • You can't really estimate doses, strength or purity, so you should take the smallest possible doses if you are going to do it.

Getting help

To get help with GHB or other drug issues, contact the Australian Drugs Information Network.

What can I do now?

  • In an emergency, call 000.
  • Don’t be pressured by friends into doing drugs.
  • Don’t mix with other drugs or alcohol.
Last reviewed: 06 August, 2015
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