WHAT IS GHB?
Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is another name for the generic drug sodium oxybate. Xyrem® (which is sodium oxybate) is the trade name of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription medication.
Xyrem® is approved as a treatment to improve daytime sleepiness and muscle weakness with narcolepsy (a disorder marked by sudden, unexplained, spontaneous fatigue, napping, or falling asleep throughout the day). Analogues that are often substituted for GHB include GBL (gamma butyrolactone) and 1,4 BD (also called just “BD”), which is 1,4-butanediol.
These analogues are available legally as industrial solvents used to produce polyurethane, pesticides, elastic fibers, pharmaceuticals, coatings on metal or plastic, and other products. They are also sold illicitly as supplements for bodybuilding, fat loss, reversal of baldness, improved eyesight, and to combat aging, depression, drug addiction, and insomnia.
GBL and BD are sold as “fish tank cleaner,” “ink stain remover,” “ink cartridge cleaner,” and “nail enamel remover” for approximately $100 per bottle — much more expensive than comparable products. Attempts to identify the abuse of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid analogues are hampered by the fact that routine
toxicological screens do not detect the presence of these analogues.
WHAT IS ITS ORIGIN?
GHB is produced illegally in both domestic and foreign clandestine laboratories. The major source
of GHB on the street is through clandestine synthesis by local operators. At bars or “rave” parties, Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid is typically sold in liquid form by the capful or “swig” for $5 to $25 per cap.
Xyrem® has the potential for diversion and abuse like any other pharmaceutical containing a
controlled substance. GHB has been encountered in nearly every region of the country.
What are common street names?
Common street names include:
• Easy Lay, G, Georgia Home Boy, GHB, Goop, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, and Scoop
What does it look like?
GHB is usually sold as a liquid or as a white powder that is dissolved in a liquid, such as water,
juice, or alcohol. GHB dissolved in liquid has been packaged in small vials or small water bottles. In liquid form, GHB is clear and colorless and slightly salty in taste.
How is it abused?
GHB and its analogues are misused for their euphoric and calming effects and because some
people believe they build muscles and cause weight loss