Ghb Essay, Research Paper
Grievous Bodily Harm
The room is spinning, the music is as loud as it can get and people are dancing all night long. Your heart is pumping, and you feel like you re flying. This is the happiest you ve been in a long time. You re so glad you came to the Rave and happy that your friends made you try GHB until you start to come down. You start with Minor seizures and become so tired you can t stand up anymore. You feel nauseated, you can t breathe correctly, you anxiety level is at it s highest ever; you begin to have tremors and begin sweating uncontrollably. If you are lucky enough you will not fall into a coma, where people yelling, shaking, and punching you will not wake you up. You lose all reflexes, your gag reflex is the most important you lose, if you vomit you won t cough up the vomit and you could die. When you do wake you have a pounding headache, achy limbs and no idea what happened, due to short-term amnesia. Welcome to the world of Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known has GHB, Liquid E, somatomax, scoop, or the dyslexic grievous bodily harm (www.ashesonthesea.com/ghb).
GHB has been compared to drugs such as Rohypnol roofies and
Ecstasy E . Used by many to intensify the Rave experience. There has been a huge boom across the country with GHB. This is due to the Rave scene getting bigger and better. The boom on the east coast has been the biggest ever seen by experts. And is it being slipped into drinks at clubs all over the country, and world, and causing deaths.
What is GHB?
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a metabolite that exists in small quantities in every cell of the human body. It was sold in for many years in the US as a food supplement, and is still used for medical purposes in Europe. The debate as to its benefits and dangers became heated after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to campaign against it in 1990. The FDA had attributed several deaths to GHB overdose, but they are challenged by a vocal group of doctors and scientists who claim GHB is non-toxic. In the US, where controls vary from state to state, it is replacing Ecstasy as the recreational drug of choice among partygoers (www.erowid.org/chemicals/ghb/ghb_media2.shtml).
GHB was first synthesized in France 30 years ago, so while it might be a recent addition to the party scene, it is certainly not a new drug. It has been used as a general anesthetic and for a variety of therapeutic purposes, including the treatment of insomnia, narcolepsy, and alcoholism. During the 1980s, GHB was popular with bodybuilders in the US for its purpose. Recreational use did not become widespread until the 1990s. GHB has become a popular smart drug and has become a preferred sedative of cyber punk culture (www.drugfreeamerica.org/ghb.html).
Taken in small doses, GHB produces a relaxed and euphoric state similar in some respects to alcohol and in some respects to E. The comparisons to Ecstasy are ironic, however, as the two are on opposite ends of the pharmacological spectrum: E is classed as an amphetamine, while GHB is a hypnotic/sedative. As such, mixing GHB with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants is extremely dangerous due to their synergistic effect. At slightly higher doses, GHB can lead to extreme drowsiness, uncontrollable sleep and even coma. This is obviously a problem is a user tries to drive while under the influence. The effects wear off after a few hours.
Side effects include tremors and nausea. Unconscious users should be rolled onto their sides and watched carefully to insure that they do not choke on their own vomit. More severe side effects include seizures. The ability of GHB to induce unconsciousness and its popularity in the club scene has caused it to be confused with the date rape drugs Rohypnol (roofies) and Ketamine (Special K). Clearly though, there is a great risk of abuse in this regard. Since spiking alcoholic drinks with GHB could result in the death of the victim. In some cases it has been reported. Although it is not the date rape drug, there have been cases where that has happened, because the GHB was slipped into a soda or water at a club (www.student.com/article/ghb).
GHB is sold in powder or liquid form, oftentimes in small shampoo-type bottles. One capful is generally taken as a dose, producing effects for about 4 hours. It is said to have no taste or salty when in solution form. To the right is a picture of GHB being turned into liquid form from the web site www.the-ghb.com. When is powder form it is snorted and smoked.
One of the great hazards of GHB is the problem of dosage. Individual tolerances are said to vary widely, and the difference between the dose needed to create euphoria and that resulting in unconsciousness is very small. The principle ingredients used in manufacturing GHB are a chemical used in industrial solvents and lye. At least one of the deaths attributed to GHB was due to chemical burns to the lungs after vomit was aspirated. Like all drugs manufactured by amateurs, one of the principle risks is adulterated or contaminated product.
An Amazing Nutrient:
In low liquid doses of one gram or less, GHB acts as a mild relaxant and disinhibitor, lasting an hour or two. Moderate does of one to two grams increase the sensation of mental and physical relaxation, accompanied by slower heart and respiration rates, and last two to three hours. Motor coordination, balance and speech may also be affected. Larger does of three to four grams induce a deep sleep. Once the dose wears off, however, the person snaps out of sleep and is wide-awake, making GHB particularly useful as a sleep aid (www.student.com/article/ghb).
GHB has been used for many years by Bodybuilders to stimulate muscle growth and used also for weight loss. GHB is found in many diet pills and in vitamins also.
The Legal Debate:
In 12 states in the US, GHB is illegal to possess. In most of the country, however, GHB is a medically controlled substance, like codeine, rather than a scheduled drug, like cocaine. Unauthorized sale is thus a criminal offense, but simple possession and use id unlikely to result in prosecution. Similar conditions prevail in the UK.
In response to the uneven status, where selling GHB is illegal but using it is not, the exothermic reaction kit has emerged. This consists of the chemical necessary to synthesis GHB in measured quantities, sold under the pretence of scientific demonstration, and are widely available over the Internet. Of course, an exothermic reaction can be created by mixing vinegar and baking soda, but sales have boomed nonetheless.
Conspiracy theorists claim that US FDA had demonized the drug because it is so much more effective (and cheaper) then the mainstream sedatives flogged by the pharmaceutical giants and thus posses a threat to their profit margins.
How Easy It is:
25 grams US$ 44.00
100 grams US$ 118.00
2×100 grams US$ 218.00
3×100 grams US$ 318.00
One Pound (454 grams) US$ 418.00
Two Pounds (2×454 grams) US$ 818.00
Whether or not GHB becomes illegal, getting it is still easy. Type GHB into a web search engine, and you ll find hundreds if not thousands of web sites and Usenet postings about it-from user testimonials to online mail order catalogs. Buy GHB is almost has ordering a sweater online from the GAP. For example if you go to www.biogenesis.co.za you can buy GHB easier than waiting for a web page to load. To the right is the pricing chart, that was taken from www.biogenesis.com.za a person could buy two pounds and easily sell it on the streets. For many GHB selling sites it includes Ecstasy because of the closeness to each other. To the left is a picture of a product that is used daily by some people for weight loss. It was taken form www.metabolife.com it includes both Ecstasy and GHB in its ingredients. There are many more products and sites that you can go on to buy GHB. The drug is also legal in the UK so outlawing it in the US will just cause a merge with the two countries and there will be mass shipments of GHB coming here. The outlawing of GHB will also cause these web sites that sell GHB to boom incredibly.
Also sold online, are kits to make GHB. Although it s against FDA regulations, not the US law, to sell synthesized GHB, many sites market GHB kits or sell the requisite ingredients individually. InterChem advertises both. Like most sites, it is laden with disclaimers. One warning states that all chemical products advertised are of a non-consumptive, non-ingestive, non-culinary, non-food, non medical nature (www.interchem.com) and for use in conducting [an] experiment for educational purposes only (www.interchem.com).
In conclusion, GHB is both worthwhile and a hazard to your health. More tests need to be performed to reach a decision about this drug. As of right now the FDA has banned it s selling, but it is still legal to buy. Until an agreement is reached about this drug, people will still buy it and party with it.