Dutch News

21 May 2013
Use of party drug GHB rising dramatically The ‘new heroine’ is easy to make, very cheap, extremely addictive and often deadly

The newspaper De Volkskrant reports that the number of people addicted to the party drug GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) in the Netherlands is now 20 times higher than in 2007. Specialists of addiction clinics estimate the number of regular users in the Netherlands on 144.000. Every week more than 20 GHB users end up on the intensive care in hospitals.


In the sixties of the last century GHB was used as an anaesthetic. Now it is sold for around 3 euro a shot. Because it is very salty, it is often mixed with soft drinks. In some cases GHB is put in drinks secretly to try to make users susceptible to sex. Thats why it is also called the 'rape drug', because the drug has liberating, sexually stimulating and anaesthetic effects. Because GHB is very cheap it is often used as a replacement for alcohol and XTC, but it is far more addictive in a very short period. 


The drug can lead to panic attacks, loss of memory, burns in the throat, heart problems, incontinence and unconsciousness. Users of GHB can also go into a coma that can last for hours. According to an insider the users think that passing out is quite normal and belongs to the experience, some even see it as something very cool and tough.


Sadly enough the drug is also deadly. Some users do not come out of coma anymore, or they suffocate in their own vomit or tongue. Some get so seriously addicted that they cannot handle it anymore and commit suicide. Often the police cannot lock up GHB users, because their behaviour is very unpredictable and the withdrawal symptoms are often very violent. Some Dutch police stations now have special GHB cells with camera surveillance and medical help on stand-by day and night.


A year ago GHB ended up on the Dutch list of prohibited hard drugs through which production and trade is now punishable. According to the Dutch minister of Justice GHB is the 'new heroine'. But the withdrawal symptoms of GHB are actually much more violent than heroine. Most of the GHB addicts need at least a year to kick the habit. Treating the addiction is so difficult and complicated that many detox centres cannot handle it, and send people out again. Some of these addicts commit suicide. Since GHB is prohibited do-it-yourself kits came on the market, including ingredients and instructions. 


A new approach to handle GHB addicts is now put in place in the Netherlands, in which, besides the police and the detox clinics, parents, family, friends and acquaintances play an important role. A mother of a GHB victim started the support group 'Brave Mothers'. She and her team help and advice parents of children that are addicted to GHB.


Sadly enough GHB is very easy to produce. In the end it is only a mix of cleaning product GBL, plunger (to unblock sinks) and distilled water. Legal products, that can be easily purchased everywhere. The costs to produce 100 shots of GHB are only €.35 Euros. In these times of crisis the use of the cheap drug GHB has increased dramatically in the Netherlands and beyond. And with this the severe GHB addiction problems and numerous casualties.







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