GHB Abuse Fact Sheet

What is GHB?

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is in the class of drugs known as “club drugs.” It is a central nervous system depressant that was originally developed as a sleep aid and produces sedative/hypnotic-like symptoms.

What does GHB look like?

GHB can be sold as a clear liquid, white powder, tablet or capsule. It is colorless, odorless and has a salty taste that is virtually undetectable if diluted with liquid. For that reason, it is usually mixed with beverages such as water, alcohol and juice.

How is GHB used?

GHB is commonly abused as a recreational drug in the club scene. It is also used by body builders to stimulate muscle growth. GHB is sometimes referred to as the “date rape drug” because it can be slipped into someone’s drink without detection.

Effects of GHB

The effects of GHB begin 10 to 20 minutes after the drug is taken and can last 3 to 6 hours, depending on the dosage.

Physical effects include:
•    Nausea, loss of muscle control and difficulty breathing (if used with other drugs such as alcohol)
•    Tremors
•    Sweating
•    Slurred speech
•    Headaches

Psychological effects include:
•    Relaxation
•    Euphoria
•    Increased/Relieved anxiety
•    Insomnia
•    Difficulty thinking
•    Hallucinations
•    Amnesia

Long-term effects include:
•    Dependence
•    Withdrawal symptoms

Consequences of GHB

Large doses of GHB can result in sedative effects that induce sleep and eventually coma or death. Chronic use of GHB can result in severe GHB dependence and prolonged withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include: psychosis and severe agitation (requiring sedation and other self-protection procedures); hypertension and increased heart rate; hallucinations; neurological effects, including prolonged delirium; and nausea, vomiting and profuse sweating.

GHB Facts and Statistics

•    The substances used to make GHB are commonly used as floor stripping solvents and drain cleaners.
•    In 2007, 0.7 percent of 8th graders, 0.6 percent of 10th graders and 1.3 percent of 12th graders abused GHB. (MTF)


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.