GHB: The Party Drug Killing Ravers | High Society

Imagine if you were an alcoholic
and you drank every day and woke up feeling like shit
and somebody gave you something where you could get the same
sensation of getting fucked up and you wake up the next morning
feeling fresh and you’ve actually slept well. That’s the danger of G, it’s almost too good. GHB, or its precursor chemical, the industrial cleaning product GBL, is a deadly drug that has been
sneaking into dance floors across Europe. It’s previously been known
as a date rape drug and for its use in the gay chemsex
scene, but we’ve discovered that under
the radar it’s been spreading into mainstream nightlife. One milliliter too much can land you
in a coma or kill you. Anybody who raves knows someone
who takes G and anyone who takes G seems to know of somebody who’s died. We wanted to know how popular GHB
really is but the problem is that there’s no reliable statistics
on how many people are taking it. So we decided to do a call out
asking people for their experiences taking the drug and pretty much immediately we were inundated with voicemails
and videos from all across Europe. Music sounds a lot better, sex feels a lot better. I’ve always had good positive effects
from it. Recently my mate passed away on it. He was on G and then he fell asleep.
Just didn’t wake up. Some of my friends have been
hospitalized and died, some of them have even tried
to commit suicide off it. It makes you feel horny if you like,
or fruity. G makes you feel really active. It was like, a pretty dramatic uptake
in the Berlin scene. GHB was my favorite drug experience
that I’ve ever had. When you have GHB, you blackout, you are not in control
of whatever you do. Some people claim that
the Netherlands is one of the places where GHB began its new
relationship with dance culture. In the last five years, Amsterdam’s
OLVG hospital has seen a 266% increase
in GHB overdose admissions. We’ve just come to Groningen which
is in the northern Netherlands. We’re here to meet a dealer
who sells GHB and according to him, this area
is going through a bit of a GHB epidemic especially amongst the
hardcore music scene and the police have started
to make it a priority. Hey man I’m at the address you
gave me. “OK, I’ll come out, just a sec.” OK, cool. Is this the G? This is it, yeah, absolutely. And what’s this over here? – Coke.
– OK. Do you sell Coke as well? Yeah, anything. Out of all the stuff that you sell,
which sells the most? GHB, for sure. So why did you start selling GHB? People are getting more and
more into GHB. It would be stupid to not
take advantage of that, also because it’s so easy to get. It’s so easy to produce. It’s low effort, high price,
high profit. It’s a perfect business to be honest. How do you usually measure it out? I just put it in a big bowl. Let’s see. So how many milliliters is that
or are you still going? That’s 10. So this has to be 50 in total. How much is this 50 ml bottle
going to go for? 50 euros. So it’s about 1 euro per milliliter. That’s incredibly cheap. Yeah absolutely. Is that one of the appeals
of this drug? Yeah, absolutely. Most people I sell to are pretty
heavy users. OK. And they’ll f**king use it in church,
anywhere. So they’re using it every day?
They’re addicted? Yeah, absolutely. How aware are you of
the dangers of GHB? Pretty aware, I’ve seen a lot
of people going to s**t who were using it. Do you know people
who have died from it? Yeah, maybe around five or six people
I know have died from it, from overdosing on it, on the party itself,
so it will happen. There’s nothing people can do
about it. How popular is G in the Netherlands? It’s absolutely an epidemic. So many people using it nowadays
compared to a few years back. Well my mates are actually up there. I see the cool masks so I assume
you guys always hang out like this. For a pre-party, I feel like
it’s quite a lot of cocaine. – Yeah.
– It is. Do you guys do G as well? Yeah I like the feeling but I don’t
want to do it too often. – So what are you doing now?
– Taking the GHB. So I just poured it in
from the little tube. So what does that taste like? Oh s**t. Well it’s a bit thick so you really feel it
gliding through your throat. So do you just take GHB as like,
a chill one? Yeah absolutely. I really like it for just
a casual setting When you go to these hardcore parties do you see people on G often? At a festival people often use a lot like all day and all night. They get really active and energetic
and they start making weird noises and doing weird things
with their hands and at the end of the festival
they’re just f**ked. Bright and early the next day,
I was with Dirk and his friend on a five hour road trip to Europe’s
biggest hardstyle festival. So it’s 7 AM and we’re
on the party bus to this hardcore festival and as soon as we got on the bus, they started playing hardcore
very loud and everyone started doing
very large amounts of drugs. And meanwhile the whole time these two guys are pipetting out doses of GHB for the bus ride and it’s still not even 9 AM. On the bus stop, some people
asked me to make these so just making them
on custom order. The guys took a break from their
mobile drug laboratory to sell capsules of G to people
at the petrol station. They then took their first dose and for some reason set an alarm. So we’ve just arrived at the festival after a gruelling four hour bus ride and I noticed you putting
an alarm on your phone. Yeah. What was that for? I do that because otherwise
I will take a shot earlier than I should be. Basically keep yourself
from overdosing. That’s the point of it. The combination of speed, cocaine, G, alcohol and 200 BPM music might seem like a recipe
for disaster, but for the veteran drug users
of Holland’s hardcore scene, G has simply become another drug
on the narcotic menu that makes violently punching the air
more enjoyable. But it’s not just the Dutch gabber
scene where GHB is taking hold. The drug is quickly spreading. Especially to Europe’s
Disneyland of drugs, Ibiza. We’ve heard that GHB is bigger here
than anywhere else. It’s sort of a strange world with no
rules or ramifications, where it’s kind of like an arms race
to see who can do the most and the most intense drugs. Yeah, GHB is getting quite popular. Slowly everyone is knowing about it
and people are taking it. The younger generation is trying
their hand at it and with something that’s really
quite dangerous and heavy. Well, when I first came out here last
year I was like, “That’s f**king
weird as f**k, why the f**k would I ever take that?
That’s weird.” But then I took it because I was like
“Oh why not.” It’s actually quite cheap in
comparison to like, cocaine or something like that. We’re all f**ked up on the Gs people are going to be horny as f**k,
do you know what I mean? Now we’re even talking about it now,
it makes me actually want to do it. Give me some f**king Geebs. You see people getting carried out
of clubs all the time in Ibiza. I know of people who have died
from taking Geebs or things that are related
to taking Geebs. I went under and I was taken to an ambulance,
had to be resuscitated because I nearly died. At the first party we went to, we immediately saw a girl being taken
away on a stretcher by paramedics. It can’t be verified but we were
told by her friends that she had taken too much GHB. If we saw a potential G overdose,
known as ‘Going under’, after two hours of landing in Ibiza, we could only begin to imagine
how many similar tragedies were happening on this island
at any given time. It’s not just your health that’s
a problem when partying on G. It can dramatically affect
your behaviour with users reporting
an almost feral libido. For example, it took several police
officers to subdue this Dutch man after he lost control on G. People have done things that are
probably out of character. They’ve acted, not within
their own headspace. At the time it made my friend
so horny that she had to go back to our
apartment and use one of our friend’s dildos. If you dose too high and you take
too much you act irrationally, and you’re super horny
and kind of touchy but in a way that could
offend people. In 2018 the Ibiza resident DJ,
Jackmaster was accused of touching people
inappropriately during a G session and it heavily impacted his career. So much so, that he hasn’t spoken
to the press until now. I first started using GBL
four or five years ago. I started to like it and I got to the stage where
I was really relying on it to do gigs like if I didn’t have it before a gig
and during a gig I would feel pretty anxious. My use of it just started to spiral
out of control, you know. I was buying it in liters. I would have a liter under my sink
in the house. I’ve woken up at festivals before in a pool of my own sweat but freezing cold and I’ve not even known
what festival I was at. Would you call it an addiction? I would probably call it
an addiction, yeah. I mean at my 30th birthday, I overdosed on G
and I collapsed on stage. That was probably as close as I’ve
ever had in my life to dying you know and I probably was close and I did promise that I would stop and you know, I just fell into the
same bad patterns months after because the drug had such
a hold on me, you know. Since then, worse things
have happened, you know. There was a situation at a festival
last year and I’ve been told that I had acted
inappropriately to a number of women at the festival. I was bouncing around
from girl to girl just being inappropriate,
grabbing them, trying to kiss them. You don’t want to blame the drug
and make it an excuse. It’s absolutely not an excuse man, but it does go some way to explaining
why I acted out of character. I chose to pick up that bottle
and drink it. It’s my fault. I’m just so sorry and upset that,
you know, I hurt these women, I hurt the spirit of these women
and it’s just, it’s just really been heartbreaking
for me to know that. And you know, there’s a lot of people
in the dance music scene who are addicted to G and who are
using it far too much. So do you know many DJs
who are using GHB? I know a lot, not just DJs. I know a lot of people in the scene
who are doing it, you know, at after parties and stuff. It’s the number one drug that
people use to stay awake and hop from after party
to after party and it’s just that’s a really
dangerous culture considering the severity
of the effects that that drug can have on you. The growing popularity of G, combined with the lack of awareness
about its dangers, is inevitably going to lead
to more and more overdoses. I wondered how frequently
British doctors were dealing with GHB casualties and what you can do to
help people who have gone under. How dangerous is GHB compared
to other drugs? It’s a very dangerous drug
if used in overdose. If you had to estimate how many
people per week come in here with a GHB overdose? I guess it’s about two to three
a week, maybe more. But it’s pretty regular. It’s a fairly common thing. – Really?
– Yeah, absolutely. So one of the problems with it
is that it’s not just the overdose, it’s also that people can also
withdraw from it and if somebody stops GHB suddenly, they can have quite severe
withdrawal symptoms, much as you would if you were
a dependent heroin user and you suddenly stopped using it. So is GHB particularly addictive? Yeah, it has got addictive
tendencies, yes. Is there a way to take GHB safely? I guess the only way to be taking it
safely would be in an incredibly regulated fashion where there is no danger of you
overdosing, in an environment where everybody
knows exactly what to do if you do overdose. That sounds like a pretty
unlikely environment. I think it is. What can someone do if they see
someone who is passed out from GHB? Certainly if someone starts snoring
or they become really unrousable, then you’ve got to be worried. If somebody has passed out and you’re worried that they’re going
to lose their airway, they might suffocate, you need to get them to hospital. You can just simply put the person
in the recovery position, keep an eye on them try and keep them awake and get help. How can you tell if someone’s
passed out from GHB? Most of the deaths are pre-hospital so there isn’t a specific test that
we do in the emergency department to look for GHB or in any other emergency department. So there’s not really any way of us knowing the scale of the GHB problem? There are toxicology testing
that you can do for GHB which can be done in
a post-mortem setting. One of the things with it is that
the results aren’t instantaneous so within an emergency department
you need to do tests that are going to give you
results right now so you can act on them
to care for your patient. but we certainly don’t do a full,
complete toxicological drug screen that would take a few days to come
back for every single patient who comes through our doors. Emergency departments in the UK
aren’t testing for GHB or GBL in situ, and post-mortem toxicology reports
rarely are either, despite searching for over 300
other drugs. The dilemma is that public health
bodies across Europe won’t acknowledge there’s a problem
unless there are statistics, but will only gather
comprehensive statistics when they know there’s a problem. Because of this, the reports
that have been published are merely the tip of the iceberg. From everything we’ve seen, G does seem to be spreading rapidly and that increase in popularity
is being matched by a dangerous lack of awareness. I don’t know what the f**king
recommended amount is and young people aren’t going to know
what the recommended amount is, so the information is not there
for people. There should be a lot more education
on GHB and recommended dosages as well so that people know how much to take. Part of the danger of it
is how good it is and that’s why I think
there needs to be education. The stigma that surrounds drugs
isn’t helping which is especially amplified when it comes to the date rape
rust remover drug, GHB. The comas and deaths will continue
to happen until we accept that a ton of people are taking these dangerous drugs, and open up the conversation to spread awareness.


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