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"GHB": the drug used by rapists to neutralize their victims

July 14, 2024

The GHB (or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) is often known by the name of liquid ecstasy, although it has nothing to do with ecstasy (or MDMA) or other substances analogous to amphetamines.

What is GHB?

This drug, used by rapists, is a depressant of the central nervous system (CNS) that was used during the sixties as an anesthetic. However, GHB was withdrawn from the pharmaceutical market due to its side effects. It is currently used in the treatment of some diseases such as narcolepsy.

GHB has unpredictable effects on each person and they are generally euphoric (in low doses) and sedative (high doses), which make this substance extremely dangerous. Due to its characteristics, it is used to carry out robberies or sexual aggressions, like the Rohypnol or the Burundanga (scopolamine), since it annuls the will of the people and turns it into a defenseless person.


Generally, the GHB s e presents in white or liquid powder form colorless and odorless, with a slightly salty taste, and distributed in the illegal market in small ampoules or vials that are often mixed with a drink. The mixture with alcohol is very dangerous. The main complication of GHB consumption is acute poisoning. During the last years there have been quite a few cases of coma, and also deaths due to its use.

The use of this drug to commit violations

Both GHB and Rohypnol or Escopolamine are used to facilitate the violations made during an appointment or to "drug" the victim in the club and then abuse it when the substance has its effect. Since GHB is a colorless and odorless substance, it is easily poured into the victim's drink and consumed without it being perceived. When the drug has its effect, it incapacitates the victim and prevents him from defending himself against sexual attack. GHB is now known as "violates easy ”.


Therefore, the purpose of the sex offender is sedation of the person from whom he or she is going to sexually abuse, to decrease their resistance or to cause the total loss of consciousness of the victim. Since GHB has a short life, it is difficult to find traces in a urine sample if more than one day has passed. Victims often report after that period, because they feel ashamed and, sometimes, guilty of what happened.

Effects of GHB

GHB is a central nervous system depressant and is taken orally. Effects start about 15 minutes after ingestion and last from 1 to 3 hours . As with alcohol, depending on the dose, it produces different effects.

In the solid state, low-medium doses (1-2g) predominate. empathic effect, euphoria or disinhibition . With higher doses (2-4g), the effects are amplified, and there may be incoordination, visual distortion, deep relaxation and tendency to numbness. This is because GHB binds to at least two classes of neuronal receptors: at low doses it binds to the GHB receptor, which is excitatory, and at high doses it also binds to the GABA-B (inhibitory) receptor, which produces the sedative effects.


GHB is especially dangerous mixed with alcohol, a combination that can lead to coma and be fatal, as has been recorded several times.

The brain manufactures GHB

Although GHB is manufactured in the laboratory, it also occurs in the brain (endogenous substance). Some of the highest concentrations are found in the substantia nigra, in the thalamus and the cerebral hypothalamus.

Many scientists claim that it acts as a neurotransmitter, and various functions are attributed to it such as the regulation of sleep cycles, temperature, cerebral glucose metabolism, blood flow, memory and emotional control. Also, it would have a neurological protector action against the negative effects of hypoxia and excessive metabolic demands.

Clinical use of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid

Despite the fact that GHB was used as a general anesthetic, and for the treatment of insomnia or clinical depression, it is currently used only for the treatment of narcolepsy, since there is a potential for abuse and serious side effects in its consumption.

It is marketed under the name of Xyrem and is available only in certified pharmacies, under a special program called Xyrem Success Program. The drug is taken before going to bed, since it reinforces deep sleep and increases the time of nocturnal sleep, reducing, at the same time, the number of periods of sleep during the day, which improves the symptoms of narcolepsy.

Other uses of GHB

In addition to the aforementioned uses, GHB is still used for other illegal purposes. Many young people they give it a recreational use and they consume it in discotheques or in "raves". It is commonly known as "liquid ecstasy", and it is usual to mix it with alcohol. This has triggered several cases of overdose.

On the other hand, It is also used by bodybuilders . It became very popular in the United States for its anabolic effect and "fat burning", since its consumption produces a muscular increase and a better definition, in addition to a euphoric effect. GHB increases the secretion of growth hormone . Despite the fact that the consumption was banned in the 1990s, it continues to be sold illegally. The great concern of the authorities is the sale on the Internet.

Then we leave you a video about the use of GHB to commit violations. Check it out:

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