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    GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) Essay

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    GHB other wise known as gamma-hydroxybutyrate was developed to be usedduring surgery, but over the past 25 years the tasteless, colorless liquidhas become a dangerous substance among teens.

    ( Vilbg) The reason GHB isno longer used in surgery is due to the many negative side effects. GHBhas been known though the years by many various names. GHB depresses thecentral nervous system causing the user to become unconscious. The long-term effects of the use of GHB are yet unknown. GHB is not produced by apharmaceutical company, but by clandestine labs and GHB is predominatelygiven to females by males indiscreetly.

    There are many ways to prevent youfrom getting hurt by the dangerous substance known has GHB. This dangeroussubstance has caused many deaths. The medical fields are working on waysto detect the drug but so far a specific test to determine if GHB has beenused is not available. The other difficulty in drug testing is that GHBonly remains in the bloodstream for 48 hours, therefore testing must occursoon after ingestion of the substance. GHB is on the rise among teens, butthe deaths due to GHB are very hard to detect due to the lack of a specifictest for GHB. When will the uses of GHB stop? The answer to that questionremains unanswered, however research continues on the long-term effects ofGHB use and how to detect GHB in the bloodstream.

    GHB is a drug, which is a pleasure enhancer for thrill seekingpersons. However its use can commit a crime. Typically males will give GHBto unsuspecting females in order to rape them. It is a drug that has beenaround since the early 1950’s when it was known as slipping someone aMickey Finn.

    (Cannon) Now it is known by many other street names. RecentlyGHB has become known as a club drug. Which means it is one of the variousdrugs used typically on the nightclub scene. It is known on the street bymany different slang names such as “salty water”, “scoop”, “Liquid X”,”somatomax”, and “simply g” (Nordenburg).

    Other various slang or streetnames are “Grievous Bodily Harm”, “G”, “Liquid Ecstasy”, and “Liquid E”. Anyone such as a stranger, a date, or a peer could put GHB in yourdrink while at a club. The only way to prevent being given GHB is to getyour own drink and closely watch your own beverage and never leave itunattended. Since it is a clear liquid which is odorless and colorless itcan easily be slipped into the drink of an unsuspecting person. It canalso be in the form of a white powder, tablet or capsule form. Many timesit is used in combination with alcohol which only makes it more dangerous.

    The best prevention is to attend nightclubs with trusted friends and tomake sure your beverage is never unattended. It is suggested that if youstart to feel unusual and suspect that you may have been drugged, that youtell some one you trust immediately. (Capehart)Many negative side effects of GHB have been documented and this is whyit was discontinued as an anesthesia during surgery. The effects caninclude drowsiness, confusion, nausea and an out of body feeling. Though itis not being used in the United States due to the many negative sideeffects, it is being used in Europe as an anesthetic during surgery.

    GHB isa substance that slows the central nervous system in to a relax state. Overdose of GHB can occur rather quickly, and the signs are similar tothose of other sedatives. GHB is abused for its intoxicating, sedative, or euphoriantproperties. Its use is on the rise because it is impossible to detect in adrink until it is too late. This makes it as easy to slip into a drink tobe consumed undetected.

    The long-term effects are still unknown becauseeach dose can be made with chemicals such as drain cleaner to acid and evenother drugs. Police are working throughout the United States to deter thesell of GHB since it is such a deadly substance. Obviously there is amarket for the production of GHB and unfortunately that market continues togrow, especially in metropolitan cities. GHB is not made in medical labs,which have a high level of quality control. Instead it is produced in homelabs under very questionable conditions.

    The ingredients in GHB can befound in dietary supplements that are available in health food stores orfitness centers. These supplements are used to induce sleep, build musclesand enhance sexual performance. Over the past few years GHB use has become popular among teens andyoung adults. . Recent reports have shown a widespread use in towns such asBoston, Los Angels, Phoenix, Baltimore, Miami, New York andDallas. (Nordenburg) The reason it has become popular is because it is soeasily added to a beverage of an unsuspecting person and the effects actquickly.

    The intoxicating effects of GHB begin anywhere from 10-20 minutesafter the drug has been taken. The effects typically last up to 4 hoursdepending on the dosage. Males are using this drug as a means to take advantage of unsuspectingand vulnerable females. When it is used it makes a female feel dazed orgives her the feeling as if she is flying in midair.

    Use of GHB can lead toa coma like sleep with shallow breathing, decrease blood pressure and short-term memory loss. Use of GHB can also be fatal. The drug can knock a victimout for nearly 4 hours just enough time for a male to take advantage of thevictim and have no regret about what he did. It is easy to rape a victimwho has been given GHB because the drug is a sedative and the personbecomes unconscious. The next thing you know is you are not aware of whereyou are or what has happened to you.

    At this point in time drug screeningsdo not detect GHB alone. Drug screenings can detect if a sedative is inyour body but it cannot determine exactly which sedative, as there are manydifferent ones. Medical researchers are trying to develop a test to detectGHB in your bloodstream but so far it has not occurred. Recently medicalresearchers have developed a test to determine if another club drug, MDMA,also known as Ecstasy is located in your bloodstream.

    The “date rape drug”,also known as GHB, has been blamed for many rape cases in Toronto andMontreal. (Teel) Just one gram of GHB is more harmful then drinking 26ounces of whiskey. (Teel)Rape is a crime of violence and not a crime of sex. If you feel thatyou have been taken advantage of there are places to go for help. You cancall places such as the local hospitals, a rape hotline, the police, or afriend.

    You should first go to an emergency room for treatment and testingto determine if you have been raped and for testing for sexuallytransmitted diseases. You can be tested for many different substances ifyou think that you may have been given a drug. It is always best when yoususpect that you may have been raped not to shower or wash the clothes thatyou had on. In the event you want to press charges it will be harder toprove if you have showered, or changed clothes and thrown away theevidence. The Drug Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act, was passedby Congress in 1996.

    The law states that any one who is convicted forpossession of a controlled substance with an intent to commit a crime ofdangerous violence which includes sexual assault, could be given a sentenceof up to 20 years. GHB continues to be a major problem in the United States along withother club drugs. The production of GHB along with other club continues tobe on the rise as for the demand. Prevention of the use of GHB can occurthough continued education of the public. Teens and young adults whofrequent nightclubs should be the focus of education. One of the easiestways and probably the most effective way would be to hold school assemblieson the dangers of GHB.

    More research needs to be done on the long-termeffects of GHB on the body. At this point medical research is addressingthis issue. As more information becomes available on these substanceshopefully the public will become more aware of the dangers. Just as crimecan not be totally eliminated from our society, it is unlikely that GHB usewill be eliminated.

    MDMA (Ecstasy)MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with both stimulant(amphetamine-like) and hallucinogenic (LSD-like) properties. Street namesfor MDMA include Ecstasy, Adam, XTC, hug, beans, and love drug. Itschemical structure (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, “MDMA”) is similarto methamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and mescaline – othersynthetic drugs known to cause brain damage. MDMA also is neurotoxin.

    Inaddition, in high doses it can cause a sharp increase in body temperature(malignant hyperthermia) leading to muscle breakdown and kidney andcardiovascular system failure. Some health risk due to the use of MDMAinclude injury to the brain, affecting the chemical serotonin tocommunicate with other neurons. The serotonin system plays a direct role inregulating mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity topain. Many of the risks users face with MDMA use are similar to those foundwith the use of cocaine and amphetamines:.

    Psychological difficulties, including confusion, depression, sleepproblems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia – during andsometimes weeks after taking MDMA. . Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching,nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills orsweating. . Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for peoplewith circulatory or heart disease. .

    Also, there is evidence that people who develop a rash that looks likeacne after using MDMA may be risking severe side effects, including liverdamage, if they continue to use the drug. Research links MDMA use to long-term damage to those parts of thebrain critical to thought and memory. One study, in primates, showed thatexposure to MDMA for 4 days caused brain damage that was evident 6 to 7years later. ( www.

    streetdrugs. org)MDA, the parent drug of MDMA, is an amphetamine-like drug that hasalso been abused and is similar in chemical structure to MDMA. Researchshows that MDA also destroys serotonin-producing neurons in the brain. MDMAalso is related in its structure and effects to methamphetamine, which hasbeen shown to cause degeneration of neurons containing the neurotransmitterdopamine.

    ( www. streetdrugs. org) Damage to these neurons is the underlyingcause of the motor disturbances seen in Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms ofthis disease begin with lack of coordination and tremors and can eventuallyresult in a form of paralysis.

    In many of the 21 metropolitan areas monitored by CEWG members, MDMA,once used primarily at dance clubs, raves, and college scenes, is now beingused in a number of other social settings. It is the most prominentstimulant used in Chicago; it is sold in many singles bars in Denver; it isused by a wide variety of age groups and in a number of recreationalsettings in Atlanta; it has become the drug of choice among white middleclass young adults in Washington, D. C. In Miami in 1999, there were eightMDMA-related deaths, and five in Minneapolis/St. Paul. (www.

    samsha. gov) InBoston during the first three quarters of 2000, MDMA was the mostfrequently mentioned drug in telephone calls to the Poison Control Center. MDMA is usually taken orally in pill form, but snorting has been reportedin Atlanta and Chicago, as has injecting in Atlanta, and anal suppositoryuse in Chicago. Ecstasy content varies widely, and it frequently consists ofsubstances entirely different from MDMA, ranging from caffeine todextromethorphan. Emergency room data indicate that MDMA is increasinglyused by marijuana users, with reports of MDMA in combination with marijuanaincreasing from 8 in 1990 to 796 in 1999. * Ecstasy tablets seized by theDrug Enforcement Administration increased from 13,342 in 1996 to 949,257 in2000.

    Ketamine ( Special K )The use of Ketamine, one of the more popular club drugs, is increasingamong teenagers and young adults throughout the United States. Because ofits anesthetic properties, Ketamine is considered to be one of the “daterape” drugs, substances that can be slipped into a person’s drink to renderhim or her unconscious. The 1997 Monitoring the Future Study found thatincreased Ketamine use has been reported in many cities, including Miami,New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Detroit (NIDA, 2000). In the springof 1997, Congress classified Ketamine as a drug with a high abuse potentialand the possibility of creating severe physical or psychological dependence(NCADI, 2000). Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride) is a central nervous systemdepressant that produces a rapid-acting dissociative effect.

    It wasdeveloped in the 1970s as a medical anesthetic for both humans and animals. Ketamine is often mistaken for cocaine or crystal methamphetamine becauseof a similarity in appearance (NCADI, 2000). Also known as K, Special K, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Keller, Super Acid,and Super C, Ketamine is available in tablet, powder, and liquid form. Sopowerful is the drug that, when injected, there is a risk of losing motorcontrol before the injection is completed. In powder form, the drug can besnorted or sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana and smoked (Partnership for aDrug-Free America, 2000).

    The effects of Ketamine last from 1 to 6 hours,and it is usually 24-48 hours before the user feels completely “normal”again. Some of the side effects of ketamine use include:( www. streetdrugs. org)Physical effects: . slurred speech, . increased heart rate, .

    increased blood pressure, . lack of coordination, . muscle rigidity, . bronchodilation, . respiratory distress, paralysis, . increased cardiac output (leading to risk of heart attack or stroke), .

    coma, . death. Psychological effects: . hallucinations, .

    dreamlike states, . feelings of invulnerability, . psychological near-death experiences, . paranoia, . aggressive behavior.

    There are no studies to show what the long-term effects of takingketamine regularly are. Because of its anesthetic qualities, people havebeen known to hurt themselves and not realize until the following day. Ketamine should not be taken with respiratory depressants, primarilyalcohol, barbiturates, or Valium and because of the uncertain interactionwith other drugs, it is advised not to mix ketamine with anything. Largedoses could induce unconsciousness which could lead to cardiovascularfailure. Although not physically addictive, some users have a developed astrong habit. (www.

    samsha. gov)A BBC report in May 2000 claimed that medicalresearch had shown that controlled tests on ketamine users had revealedimpaired memory and mild schizophrenia several days after taking the drug. Ketamine is not as common as other drugs to use on the datingscene due to such a low availability rate because its only legitimate useis as a veterinary anesthetic or animal hospitals. The use of club drugs is every where that we look we do not know if weare safe from them any where that we go all we can do is watch ever wherewe go and everything that we do.

    The production of club drugs will neverdecrease unless the demand declines. The only way the demand will declineis if the popularity of such drugs dies down. Until this happens club drugswill be on the streets as long as the users are. Work Cited PageNational Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI),Ketamine: A Fact Sheet, ncadi.

    samhsa. gov/pubs/qdocs/ketamine/ketafact. aspx,accessed July 2000. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Infofax-Club Drugs,www.

    nida. nih. gov/Infofax/clubdrugs. aspx, accessed July 2000. NIDA, Community Drug Alert Bulletin-Club Drugs,http://165.

    112. 78. 61/ClubAlert/Clubdrugalert. aspx, accessed July 2000.

    Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Drug Information: Ketamine (SpecialK), www. drugfreeamerica. org/clubdrugs/ketamine. aspx, accessed July 2000.

    Drugs, Insolvents and Intoxicants-Ketamine,http://area51. upsu. plym. ac.

    uk/~harl/ketamine. aspx, accessed July 2000(Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 2000). (www. samsha. gov)( www.

    streetdrugs. org)Cannon, Angie “Sex, Drugs, and Sudden Death”U. S. News and World Report May 24,1999Capehart, Jonathan “Morning after Mourning” Advocate September 29,1998Nordenberg, Tamar ” The Death of the Party” FDA Consumer, March/April2000Teel,Gina “A Sexual Predator’s Delight” Alberta Report/News MagazineDecember 1,1997Vilibg, Peter “New Highs, New Risks” New York Times UpfrontMay 8,2000

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