GHB–Popular, Deceptively Dangerous Drug


Susan Middleton of Kansas learned about GHB when she found a Gatorade bottle containing an odorless clear liquid in her daughter’s freezer, says the Kansas City Star. Her curiosity led her to the Internet. Search for “odorless liquid” and “Gatorade bottle” and up pops gamma hydroxybutyrate, a powerful central nervous system depressant. GHB is known as a “date rape” drug, but the deceptively dangerous liquid has grown in popularity with partiers, athletes and others who take it deliberately, sometimes with deadly consequences.

A capful is akin to drinking five beers in five minutes with a little PCP on top, experts say. Drink too much and you may never wake up. Kansas City investigators busted a GHB lab in June, and realized this drug may be a bigger player in the local drug scene than they had thought. They recovered nearly a liter of GHB, enough for hundreds of doses. GHB-related overdoses have killed at least three people in the area in recent years, including Susan Middleton’s daughter. One expert identified 200 GHB-related deaths across the U.S. from 1995 to 2005, but the real numbers could be much higher because police, hospitals, and medical examiners don't routinely check for it. “GHB addiction is the single toughest – most prolonged and most dangerous – of all drug withdrawals,” said Trinka Porrata, a retired Los Angeles police detective who runs a nonprofit organization called Project GHB.

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