GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate)

GHB other wise known as gamma-hydroxybutyrate was developed to be used
during surgery, but over the past 25 years the tasteless, colorless liquid
has become a dangerous substance among teens. ( Vilbg) The reason GHB is
no longer used in surgery is due to the many negative side effects. GHB
has been known though the years by many various names. GHB depresses the
central nervous system causing the user to become unconscious. The long-
term effects of the use of GHB are yet unknown. GHB is not produced by a
pharmaceutical company, but by clandestine labs and GHB is predominately
given to females by males indiscreetly. There are many ways to prevent you
from getting hurt by the dangerous substance known has GHB. This dangerous
substance has caused many deaths. The medical fields are working on ways
to detect the drug but so far a specific test to determine if GHB has been
used is not available. The other difficulty in drug testing is that GHB
only remains in the bloodstream for 48 hours, therefore testing must occur
soon after ingestion of the substance. GHB is on the rise among teens, but
the deaths due to GHB are very hard to detect due to the lack of a specific
test for GHB. When will the uses of GHB stop? The answer to that question
remains unanswered, however research continues on the long-term effects of
GHB use and how to detect GHB in the bloodstream.

GHB is a drug, which is a pleasure enhancer for thrill seeking
persons. However its use can commit a crime. Typically males will give GHB
to unsuspecting females in order to rape them. It is a drug that has been
around since the early 1950’s when it was known as slipping someone a
Mickey Finn. (Cannon) Now it is known by many other street names. Recently
GHB has become known as a club drug. Which means it is one of the various
drugs used typically on the nightclub scene. It is known on the street by
many different slang names such as “salty water”, “scoop”, “Liquid X”,
“somatomax”, and “simply g” (Nordenburg). Other various slang or street
names are “Grievous Bodily Harm”, “G”, “Liquid Ecstasy”, and “Liquid E”.

Anyone such as a stranger, a date, or a peer could put GHB in your
drink while at a club. The only way to prevent being given GHB is to get
your own drink and closely watch your own beverage and never leave it
unattended. Since it is a clear liquid which is odorless and colorless it
can easily be slipped into the drink of an unsuspecting person. It can
also be in the form of a white powder, tablet or capsule form. Many times
it is used in combination with alcohol which only makes it more dangerous.

The best prevention is to attend nightclubs with trusted friends and to
make sure your beverage is never unattended. It is suggested that if you
start to feel unusual and suspect that you may have been drugged, that you
tell some one you trust immediately. (Capehart)
Many negative side effects of GHB have been documented and this is why
it was discontinued as an anesthesia during surgery. The effects can
include drowsiness, confusion, nausea and an out of body feeling. Though it
is not being used in the United States due to the many negative side
effects, it is being used in Europe as an anesthetic during surgery. GHB is
a substance that slows the central nervous system in to a relax state.

Overdose of GHB can occur rather quickly, and the signs are similar to
those of other sedatives.

GHB is abused for its intoxicating, sedative, or euphoriant
properties. Its use is on the rise because it is impossible to detect in a
drink until it is too late. This makes it as easy to slip into a drink to
be consumed undetected. The long-term effects are still unknown because
each dose can be made with chemicals such as drain cleaner to acid and even
other drugs. Police are working throughout the United States to deter the
sell of GHB since it is such a deadly substance. Obviously there is a
market for the production of GHB and unfortunately that market continues to
grow, especially in metropolitan cities. GHB is not made in medical labs,
which have a high level of quality control. Instead it is produced in home
labs under very questionable conditions. The ingredients in GHB can be
found in dietary supplements that are available in health food stores or
fitness centers. These supplements are used to induce sleep, build muscles
and enhance sexual performance.

Over the past few years GHB use has become popular among teens and
young adults. . Recent reports have shown a widespread use in towns such as
Boston, Los Angels, Phoenix, Baltimore, Miami, New York and
Dallas.(Nordenburg) The reason it has become popular is because it is so
easily added to a beverage of an unsuspecting person and the effects act
quickly. The intoxicating effects of GHB begin anywhere from 10-20 minutes
after the drug has been taken. The effects typically last up to 4 hours
depending on the dosage.

Males are using this drug as a means to take advantage of unsuspecting
and vulnerable females. When it is used it makes a female feel dazed or
gives her the feeling as if she is flying in midair. Use of GHB can lead to
a coma like sleep with shallow breathing, decrease blood pressure and short-
term memory loss. Use of GHB can also be fatal. The drug can knock a victim
out for nearly 4 hours just enough time for a male to take advantage of the
victim and have no regret about what he did. It is easy to rape a victim
who has been given GHB because the drug is a sedative and the person
becomes unconscious. The next thing you know is you are not aware of where
you are or what has happened to you. At this point in time drug screenings
do not detect GHB alone. Drug screenings can detect if a sedative is in
your body but it cannot determine exactly which sedative, as there are many
different ones. Medical researchers are trying to develop a test to detect
GHB in your bloodstream but so far it has not occurred. Recently medical
researchers have developed a test to determine if another club drug, MDMA,
also known as Ecstasy is located in your bloodstream. The “date rape drug”,
also known as GHB, has been blamed for many rape cases in Toronto and
Montreal. (Teel) Just one gram of GHB is more harmful then drinking 26
ounces of whiskey. (Teel)
Rape is a crime of violence and not a crime of sex. If you feel that
you have been taken advantage of there are places to go for help. You can
call places such as the local hospitals, a rape hotline, the police, or a
friend. You should first go to an emergency room for treatment and testing
to determine if you have been raped and for testing for sexually
transmitted diseases. You can be tested for many different substances if
you think that you may have been given a drug. It is always best when you
suspect that you may have been raped not to shower or wash the clothes that
you had on. In the event you want to press charges it will be harder to
prove if you have showered, or changed clothes and thrown away the
evidence. The Drug Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act, was passed
by Congress in 1996. The law states that any one who is convicted for
possession of a controlled substance with an intent to commit a crime of
dangerous violence which includes sexual assault, could be given a sentence
of up to 20 years.

GHB continues to be a major problem in the United States along with
other club drugs. The production of GHB along with other club continues to
be on the rise as for the demand. Prevention of the use of GHB can occur
though continued education of the public. Teens and young adults who
frequent nightclubs should be the focus of education. One of the easiest
ways and probably the most effective way would be to hold school assemblies
on the dangers of GHB. More research needs to be done on the long-term
effects of GHB on the body. At this point medical research is addressing
this issue. As more information becomes available on these substances
hopefully the public will become more aware of the dangers. Just as crime
can not be totally eliminated from our society, it is unlikely that GHB use
will be eliminated.


MDMA (Ecstasy)
MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with both stimulant
(amphetamine-like) and hallucinogenic (LSD-like) properties. Street names
for MDMA include Ecstasy, Adam, XTC, hug, beans, and love drug. Its
chemical structure (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, “MDMA”) is similar
to methamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and mescaline – other
synthetic drugs known to cause brain damage. MDMA also is neurotoxin. In
addition, in high doses it can cause a sharp increase in body temperature
(malignant hyperthermia) leading to muscle breakdown and kidney and
cardiovascular system failure. Some health risk due to the use of MDMA
include injury to the brain, affecting the chemical serotonin to
communicate with other neurons. The serotonin system plays a direct role in
regulating mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to
pain.

Many of the risks users face with MDMA use are similar to those found
with the use of cocaine and amphetamines:
. Psychological difficulties, including confusion, depression, sleep
problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia – during and
sometimes weeks after taking MDMA.


. Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching,
nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or
sweating.


. Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people
with circulatory or heart disease.


. Also, there is evidence that people who develop a rash that looks like
acne after using MDMA may be risking severe side effects, including liver
damage, if they continue to use the drug.


Research links MDMA use to long-term damage to those parts of the
brain critical to thought and memory. One study, in primates, showed that
exposure to MDMA for 4 days caused brain damage that was evident 6 to 7
years later. ( www.streetdrugs.org)
MDA, the parent drug of MDMA, is an amphetamine-like drug that has
also been abused and is similar in chemical structure to MDMA. Research
shows that MDA also destroys serotonin-producing neurons in the brain. MDMA
also is related in its structure and effects to methamphetamine, which has
been shown to cause degeneration of neurons containing the neurotransmitter
dopamine. ( www.streetdrugs.org) Damage to these neurons is the underlying
cause of the motor disturbances seen in Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms of
this disease begin with lack of coordination and tremors and can eventually
result in a form of paralysis.


In many of the 21 metropolitan areas monitored by CEWG members, MDMA,
once used primarily at dance clubs, raves, and college scenes, is now being
used in a number of other social settings. It is the most prominent
stimulant used in Chicago; it is sold in many singles bars in Denver; it is
used by a wide variety of age groups and in a number of recreational
settings in Atlanta; it has become the drug of choice among white middle
class young adults in Washington, D.C. In Miami in 1999, there were eight
MDMA-related deaths, and five in Minneapolis/St. Paul.(www.samsha.gov) In
Boston during the first three quarters of 2000, MDMA was the most
frequently mentioned drug in telephone calls to the Poison Control Center.

MDMA is usually taken orally in pill form, but snorting has been reported
in Atlanta and Chicago, as has injecting in Atlanta, and anal suppository
use in Chicago.


Ecstasy content varies widely, and it frequently consists of
substances entirely different from MDMA, ranging from caffeine to
dextromethorphan. Emergency room data indicate that MDMA is increasingly
used by marijuana users, with reports of MDMA in combination with marijuana
increasing from 8 in 1990 to 796 in 1999.* Ecstasy tablets seized by the
Drug Enforcement Administration increased from 13,342 in 1996 to 949,257 in
2000.


Ketamine ( Special K )
The use of Ketamine, one of the more popular club drugs, is increasing
among teenagers and young adults throughout the United States. Because of
its anesthetic properties, Ketamine is considered to be one of the “date
rape” drugs, substances that can be slipped into a person’s drink to render
him or her unconscious. The 1997 Monitoring the Future Study found that
increased Ketamine use has been reported in many cities, including Miami,
New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Detroit (NIDA, 2000). In the spring
of 1997, Congress classified Ketamine as a drug with a high abuse potential
and the possibility of creating severe physical or psychological dependence
(NCADI, 2000).


Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride) is a central nervous system
depressant that produces a rapid-acting dissociative effect. It was
developed in the 1970s as a medical anesthetic for both humans and animals.

Ketamine is often mistaken for cocaine or crystal methamphetamine because
of a similarity in appearance (NCADI, 2000).

Also known as K, Special K, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Keller, Super Acid,
and Super C, Ketamine is available in tablet, powder, and liquid form. So
powerful is the drug that, when injected, there is a risk of losing motor
control before the injection is completed. In powder form, the drug can be
snorted or sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana and smoked (Partnership for a
Drug-Free America, 2000). The effects of Ketamine last from 1 to 6 hours,
and it is usually 24-48 hours before the user feels completely “normal”
again.

Some of the side effects of ketamine use include:( www.streetdrugs.org)
Physical effects:
. slurred speech,
. increased heart rate,
. increased blood pressure,
. lack of coordination,
. muscle rigidity,
. bronchodilation,
. respiratory distress, paralysis,
. increased cardiac output (leading to risk of heart attack or stroke),
. coma,
. death.

Psychological effects:
. hallucinations,
. dreamlike states,
. feelings of invulnerability,
. psychological near-death experiences,
. paranoia,
. aggressive behavior.

There are no studies to show what the long-term effects of taking
ketamine regularly are. Because of its anesthetic qualities, people have
been known to hurt themselves and not realize until the following day.

Ketamine should not be taken with respiratory depressants, primarily
alcohol, barbiturates, or Valium and because of the uncertain interaction
with other drugs, it is advised not to mix ketamine with anything. Large
doses could induce unconsciousness which could lead to cardiovascular
failure. Although not physically addictive, some users have a developed a
strong habit. (www.samsha.gov)A BBC report in May 2000 claimed that medical
research had shown that controlled tests on ketamine users had revealed
impaired memory and mild schizophrenia several days after taking the drug.

Ketamine is not as common as other drugs to use on the dating
scene due to such a low availability rate because its only legitimate use
is as a veterinary anesthetic or animal hospitals.

The use of club drugs is every where that we look we do not know if we
are safe from them any where that we go all we can do is watch ever where
we go and everything that we do. The production of club drugs will never
decrease unless the demand declines. The only way the demand will decline
is if the popularity of such drugs dies down. Until this happens club drugs
will be on the streets as long as the users are.

Work Cited Page
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI),
Ketamine: A Fact Sheet, ncadi.samhsa.gov/pubs/qdocs/ketamine/ketafact.aspx,
accessed July 2000.


National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Infofax-Club Drugs,
www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/clubdrugs.aspx, accessed July 2000.


NIDA, Community Drug Alert Bulletin-Club Drugs,
http://165.112.78.61/ClubAlert/Clubdrugalert.aspx, accessed July 2000.


Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Drug Information: Ketamine (Special
K), www.drugfreeamerica.org/clubdrugs/ketamine.aspx, accessed July 2000.


Drugs, Insolvents and Intoxicants-Ketamine,
http://area51.upsu.plym.ac.uk/~harl/ketamine.aspx, accessed July 2000
(Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 2000).


(www.samsha.gov)
( www.streetdrugs.org)
Cannon, Angie “Sex, Drugs, and Sudden Death”U.S. News and World Report
May 24,1999
Capehart, Jonathan “Morning after Mourning” Advocate September 29,1998
Nordenberg, Tamar ” The Death of the Party” FDA Consumer, March/April
2000
Teel,Gina “A Sexual Predator’s Delight” Alberta Report/News Magazine
December 1,1997
Vilibg, Peter “New Highs, New Risks” New York Times UpfrontMay 8,
2000