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GHB (liquid ecstasy)

GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy and fantasy, is a colourless, odourless, salty tasting liquid. It was originally developed as an anaesthetic, but was dropped after a few years because of the unwanted side effects.

Small bottle of liquid ghbUsually sold in small bottles or capsules, people take it by the capful.

Effects of GHB

It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour for GHB to kick in. It has been known for the effects to last up to a full day.

Short-term effects can include:

  • induced state of euphoria
  • increased levels of sociability and sexual desire
  • becoming relaxed and calm
  • making you sleepy and disorientated
  • nausea, vomiting and muscle spasms
  • convulsions and breathing problems.

Taking too much

If too much GHB is taken it can cause you to lose consciousness or go into a coma. The difference in the amount needed to give you a hit, or cause you to pass out can be as little as half a capful.

As with all illegal (therefore unregulated) drugs, it is hard to determine the potency of any batch. This makes it harder to tell how much would cause an adverse reaction.

Alcohol, other drugs and GHB

If taking GHB it is best not to do so while drinking or if you’ve taken other drugs. Doing so increases the likliehood of respiratory collapse or coma.

Dependence and tolerance

It is possible to become addicted to GHB, however this only happens in a minority of situations. Tolerance of GHB can be built up, which means you’d need to take more to get the same hit.

If this happens be careful not to take too much by accident.

Withdrawal

If used often, withdrawal symptoms can last several days and can include sleep problems, chest pains and vertigo. But, once the drug is out of your system these symtoms and the desire to take more of it should pass.

GHB and the law

In Ireland possession of GHB is illegal.

More information

Drugs and Alcohol Programme (DAP) – provides live interactive services, telephone & mobile help-line services and various other online services for drug and alcohol issues. Visit www.drugs.ie for more or call 01 8360911

Narcotics Anonymous – a non-profit fellowship of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. They are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.

Merchants Quay Ireland – provides a range of services for people affected by drug use and the associated problems of HIV infection, crime, homelessness, unemployment and poverty.Visit the website or call 01 5240160.

National Documentation Centre on Drug Use – hosted by the Health Research Board (HRB), provides information and research on drug misuse in Ireland (and internationally).

Drug Treatment Centre Board – the longest established treatment service in Ireland. Call 1 6488600 or email info@dtcb.ie

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