Three people overdosed on the party drug GHB over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times reported. A 44-year-old woman died and two other people were in critical condition. Emergency workers responded to a call and arrived before dawn on Sunday at a home in Venice Beach, California, where they found the three people in cardiac arrest.
GHB, or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, has been used as a party drug and a date rape drug since the 1960s. The drug is a central nervous system depressant and is often bough illegally on the streets or over the Internet. It is often sold in liquid form or as a white powder and is ingested orally. It is commonly combined with alcohol.
The drug is dangerous because it is odorless and colorless, allowing it to be placed in a victim’s drink without detection. GHB is typically produced with lye or drain cleaner mixed with GBL, a chemical related to GBH, and an industrial solvent used to strip floors, according to Drugs.com.
— KTLA (@KTLA) July 13, 2015
GHB was responsible for 226 deaths between 1995 and 2005, according to an article in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Roughly 5,700 overdoses of GHB were reported between 1990 and 2000, the Food and Drug Administration reported. Emergency department visits in cases linked to GHB increased from 56 in 1994 to 4,969 in 2000. In 2013, a teenage mother died after taking GHB to help her sleep, the Daily Mail reported.
Reported positive effects of GHB include increased sex drive, euphoria and tranquility, while reported negative effects of the drug include sweating, loss of consciousness, nausea, hallucinations, amnesia and coma.
In 2002, the FDA approved GHB for people who suffer from cataplexy, a condition that causes a sudden loss of muscle tone. If used repeatedly, GHB can be addictive and users may experience withdrawal effects including insomnia, anxiety, tremors and sweating.