'GBH' drug is the new dance hit

AN ANAESTHETIC nicknamed 'GBH' (grievous bodily harm), which can cause paralysis and seizures, is set to become the latest dance drug to hit Britain.

Small quantities of gamma hydroxy butyrate (GHB), which is banned in the United States but not an illegal substance in the UK, are already available at nightclubs in London. It has also been reported in the North-west of England.

Costing from pounds 10 to pounds 15 a dose, GHB reportedly induced coma in some users in the US, where it was originally developed. Because it comes as a clear, colourless liquid, it is easy to overdose.

Also known as Liquid X, it was manufactured as an anaesthetic for operations, but went out of use because of unpredictable side-effects. In the Eighties it was used by bodybuilders as a growth- hormone stimulant. It was banned in the US in 1991 because of its psychedelic effects, which include hallucinations and immunity to pain.

More recently, however, it has become popular in the Californian dance scene and its effects have been likened to a combination of Ecstasy and LSD. It also makes users feel drowsy, which has led some to mix it with mind- stimulating amphetamines to prolong the 'high' by several hours.

The drug is not currently on the Home Office's list of prohibited drugs, ones which it is illegal to possess. However, a spokesman said the situation would be reviewed if people were found to be abusing GHB.

Drug agencies fear that youngsters, ever keen to try new narcotics, will quickly take to GHB. Laura Gamble, a spokeswoman for the Brighton-based Drug Advice and Information Service, said: 'Unfortunately, any new drugs fad is quickly seized upon. There are real dangers with GHB - taking something as powerful as this puts a tremendous strain on the body.'

The price of GHB - cheaper than the most popular dance drug, Ecstasy, which costs about pounds 15 a tablet - will add to its attraction.

Dr Russell Newcombe, director of 3D Research Bureau, an independent drugs agency, said: 'High doses of a drug like this can produce a comatose effect. The combination of hallucination and the loss of perception of pain could result in someone battering themselves against a hard object, such as a wall, without realising they are seriously injuring themselves.'

Lifeline, a drugs agency based in Manchester, has had several 'anecdotal' reports of the drug in the North-west.

Last year, small amounts of another anaesthetic drug, Ketamine, or 'Special K', normally used for at-the-scene emergency surgery, began to be sold at clubs and raves.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Louis van Gaal
football
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own