Gamma hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as GHB, has often been used to facilitate what is known as a “date rape.” By placing this anesthetic drug in someone’s drink or other consumable item, the individual will become helpless and incapacitated. Many do not remember being drugged and wake up with no memory of what happened for several hours.
Facts About GHB Deaths
1. 72 deaths relating to GHB since the DEA began tracking this drug in 1990 when it was banned by the FDA.
2. 15,600. That’s the number of overdoses that have been tracked by the US since 1990.
3. GHB is typically packaged in plastic bottles and may be sold for as little as $5 per dose.
4. GHB is highly addictive and withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as 3 hours after the last dose taken. A detox from GHB may last up to 14 days.
5. 90% of Americans with a substance abuse problem starting smoking, drinking or using other drugs before age 18.
6. 85% of all drug related rapes are by someone well-known to the victim.
7. Women between the ages of 16-24 are 4x more likely to be unwilling exposed to GHB than any other age group.
8. 74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of unwanted GHB consumption within a nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol.
9. 1 in 3 men in a national survey said they would rape a woman if they knew they could get away with the act and GHB helps to facilitate that process.
10. 84% of men who were involved in a date rape did not realize that what they did met the legal definition of date rape.
11. 42% of women who are exposed to GHB and believe they may have had unwanted sex do not tell anyone about the incident.
12. About 3 people per year die because of a GHB overdose, although not every overdose is caused by those attempting unwanted intercourse. Many people take GHB because of its sedative properties so they can sleep better after a long day at work.
13. 80% of the victims of an unwanted GHB encounter are under the age of 30.
14. 98% of those who use GHB on someone else will never spend a day in jail or prison.
15. 57% of the violent acts that are attempted against women occur when a woman is on a date with someone they know or trust.
16. 43% of college men admit using coercive behavior to have sex, including ignoring a woman’s protest.
17. For college women who are raped, with or without the influence of GHB, only 1 in 10 of them will report the incident to law enforcement.
History of GHB
GHB is not a new drug. It was first created in the 1920’s and was being developed as a medical anesthetic in the 1960’s. It’s even produced by the body naturally in small amounts. Until it was banned in 1990 by the FDA, it was even being sold as a performance enhancer. When used in smaller amounts, it can produce an euphoric state that may even cause hallucinations.
Taken orally, it takes about 15 minutes for GHB to take effect. The drug can last up to 6 hours, but doses of 4 grams or more can cause death.
Why Are GHB Deaths So Rare?
There may be more GHB deaths than the statistics indicate. It is difficult to track this drug because of how it is used. Not only is it part of the party scene, but it is part of the bodybuilding scene. It is part of the workaholic scene. Many different people with very different people use this drug. Many are using it without telling anyone about it because it is illegal. This means the 72 deaths that have been tracked by the DEA may just be the tip of the iceberg.
What we do know is that GHB has become the drug of choice for those who are seeking ill intent towards women. Because of this, it is important to know how common date rape can be and the risks of going home with someone that you do not know. Most assaults that involve GHB occur within 1 mile of the victim’s home.
GHB may have its uses, but those uses are abused by many for personal gain. Because of the dangers of this drug, it should be avoided at all costs.