DOCTOR ELEPHANT I’m sure this stuff used to be sold in Health Food stores and advertised in fitness and bodybuilding magazines, is this the same stuff?
Yes you’re right it was. GHB or gamma-hydroxybutyrate to give it its medical name was sold under a wide range of brand names as a performance-enhancing additive to body building formulas. Despite claims that GHB stimulated muscle growth, this has never been proved.

So body builders and health freaks used to buy it?
Well, maybe there were some, but truthfully the bulk of the sales were to those in the know, the recreational drug users where it’s used to come down from ecstasy and other stimulants, and it was particularly popular amongst certain sections of the gay scene.

So it’s been made illegal?
Yep, it’s a class C, so maximum sentences are 2 years for possession or 14 years for dealing, see our section on Drugs and the Law for more info.

But it’s safe isn’t it? I mean if all these people used to buy it, and I’ve just looked it up on the internet and one site says that it’s been used to treat alcoholics.
Well no, it isn’t safe!  Yes, you’re right it has been used to treat alcoholics, but that’s under strict medical supervision, in certain circumstances and in certain doses or strengths it can surely kill you.

How so?
GHB is what’s called a “central nervous depressant” like alcohol and tranquilisers like benzo’s. This means if you take GHB when you’re drinking it can dangerously depress your breathing, so you could just doze off, and kind of, not wake up, ever. The effects can kick in after 15 minutes, but can take up to an hour, and this can catch you out, particularly if you don’t know the strengths (GHB is easily cut, just add water actually, and as it’s a slightly salty, tasteless liquid, you can’t tell).

Are there any other effects?
Well apart from the probability of death, it can make you vomit, pretty nastily and uncontrollably, and can quickly dehydrate you, It can also cause visual distortions and delusions, and there are confirmed cases of causing flashbacks and fits. As with a lot of drugs, if you’ve already got asthma, breathing or heart conditions (and let’s face it, you may have and not know), GHB can seek out any weakness. And I can’t stress enough….

If you buy this stuff whether inside or outside a club you don’t know what you’re buying, keep your money in your pocket and enjoy the music!

‘If anything you have read on this page is giving you cause to worry, why not look behind the Red Door for the contact details of the Club Drug Clinic? You can give them a ring in confidence and at the very least get a little advice.’