A drug common on the club scene is “massively misunderstood” and sales should be banned, claims a new online campaign.
GHB (Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate) is already Class C drug but Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) is legal.
When ingested it produces GHB in the body.
It is easy to obtain via websites and its use has increased among gay clubbers.
One told PinkNews.co.uk:
“The use of GBL is rife. You can buy litre bottles of GBL over the internet.”
www.knowghb.org.uk is a new website that seeks to educate clubbers on the dangers of the drug.
GBL is found in products such as nail varnish remover.
According to Tictac drugs database, more than half suspected GHB samples seized in clubs now contain GBL.
“What we actually find in the clubs is a whole range of containers containing liquids – one contains GHB, but there’s an identical bottle that contains GBL,” John Ramsey, from Tictac, told the BBC in December.
“When we first started collecting data a couple of years ago we were seeing largely GHB with a small amount of GBL, whereas now about 60% of what we are finding is GBL.”
The site was set up by Jay Evans, a sufferer of GHB addiction.
“GHB or GBL is very common on the gay club circuit, especially in London,” he said.
“I got involved with the substance believing it was less dangerous than any other.
“I was taking ‘G’ for many months and the high was like no other. I started to realise soon that the stresses and strains of life seemed much easier and I started to use the substance more – several times daily.
“Before I knew what had happened I was addicted.
“It wasn’t until several months had passed that I realised I had started to lose my friends. I was starting to go out of the house less, only leaving to shop and go clubbing. G really had taken over my life.”
His campaign, which includes a petition at the Downing St website, aims to make the sale of GBL illegal in the UK as it is in the US.
It is introduced to clubbers as a liquid ecstasy that is easy to obtain, cheap and less dangerous than its counterparts.
Mixed with alcohol or taken in too higher dosage it can kill within minutes.
“The biggest false statement of all is that this substance in not addictive,” said Mr Evans.
“After only a few weeks of usage users run the risk of addiction.
“Long term use or addiction leaves the user susceptible to long term mental problems such as depression, stress, anxiety even leading to paranoid schizophrenia and the possibility of suicide.”
PC Russell Pritchard, an LGBT liaison officer for the Metropolitan Police, said:
“People are intentionally taking significant amounts of GHB or other recreational drugs and are then putting themselves at risk of either sexual assault or robbery.”