August 13, 2020 – In Breaking News – NBC News
It had been several years since professor Joseph Palamar had seen that unmistakable “caveman face,” the telltale sign of an imminent overdose of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB.
Standing among throngs of concertgoers at a Brooklyn music venue last year, Palamar spotted the bulky man with the contorted face nearby. He was struggling to remain conscious.
“I’ve noticed that when people are meant to pass out and they keep forcing it, they make these very strange, primitive faces,” Palamar, an epidemiologist and associate professor of population health at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, told NBC News.
“They look like they are in such euphoria it’s almost painful.”
Within minutes, the man succumbed, apparently to the suppressive effects of the drug, and collapsed to the floor.
Security staff raced over and carried him away.
(Learn More. What is GHB and why is it a dangerous date rape drug? Courtesy of ITV News and YouTube. Posted on Jan 8, 2020.)
The ordeal reminded Palamar of New York’s sweaty nightclubs at the turn of the millennium, the same venues that had sparked his interest in studying drug use.
Back then, overdoses, particularly on GHB, were so common that some clubs hired private ambulances to avoid 911 calls and police scrutiny.
One club allegedly hid unconscious patrons in a back room without medical assistance.
Despite these efforts, the clubs didn’t go unnoticed.
After a rash of overdoses across the United States in the late ’90s, Congress scheduled GHB as a controlled substance in 2000.
Exposures to GHB reported to poison control centers fell almost immediately.
But 20 years on, a new generation of recreational users — a disproportionate number of them gay and lesbian, according to researchers — has rediscovered the drug.
(WARNING: Contains scenes of graphic and nudity. Learn More. GHB can make you happy and horny with no comedown but, a milliliter too much can put you in a coma or kill you. You may have heard about it as a chemsex or a date rape drug, the substance that leads to DJ Jackmaster’s career being canceled, or in headlines about overdoses all over… Courtesy of VICE Asia and YouTube. Posted on Apr 20, 2020.)Recent indictments in a Texas federal court reveal that today’s networks for distributing GHB aren’t spread over local dealers but far-flung markets linking buyers to legal businesses with dubious motives.
Social media and the world’s largest online marketplace are also tangled in this web.
This illicit network generates millions of dollars each year and has spurred a small but growing crisis, for which federal regulators and the medical community appear ill-equipped and unprepared.
(Gammahydroxybuteric acid, or GHB, is a neurotransitter that acts on the GABA-B receptor. It thus has a sedative effect and causes a sedative-hypnotic toxidrome. In low doses it causes a euphoric but relaxed mood, and an enhanced drive. In larger doses it could cause loss of consciousness. Courtesy of CritIC and YouTube. Posted on Aug 21, 2018.)
Occurring naturally in the body, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid was first synthesized in a lab in the 1960s. Although its application in medicine has always been limited, GHB has had various recreational uses.
In the 1980s, health food stores marketed the compound as a dietary supplement. Then, in the ’90s, the drug found its way into American nightlife.
In small doses — mere milliliters — GHB produces feelings of relaxation and confusion and heightens sexual arousal, lending to its allure as a party drug.
It can also cause amnesia and hallucinations.
(GHB is a drug frequently used at gay sex parties. It induces euphoria and increased sex drive in users, but the difference between getting high and overdosing is incredibly small. Mere millimetres. Ignacio Labayen De Inza, a former user turned G vigilante, takes us into the world of chemsex, reveals how GHB is used and abused in the gay community, and how easy the drug is to buy over dating app Grindr. Courtesy of Joe and YouTube. Posted on Dec 4, 2019.)
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