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G-Ing Out

Let’s address what some drug users mean when they use the phrase G-ing out. G-ing out is a reference to a party drug called Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (or GHB). Users refer to GHB as G, and when these users intentionally overdose on the drug, they refer to this behavior as  “g-ing” out; these GHB overdoses are extremely dangerous.

How is it used?

G is usually consumed as a liquid. Because it has no smell and little taste, anyone can easily conceal it in a bottle of water or an alcoholic drink. G is rarely used as a stand-alone drug and is often consumed with a mix of other drugs. Currently, most users use G alongside crystal meth to enhance sex.

Why Use G?

G’s effects on the body start within five to 20 minutes of taking the drug and last three to four hours. GHB causes a loss of inhibition, relaxation, an increased sex drive, and feelings of euphoria. GHB can also only show up in a tox screen for four hours after use, so people that need to avoid detection on a drug test may be more likely to use GHB.

The way users feel when taking GHB is similar to the way some people feel when they drink alcohol. At a low dose, users generally feel more sociable, less inhibited, and lightheaded. At a slightly higher dose, they may feel these effects more intensely or become drowsy and dizzy. At a slightly higher dose, they may experience nausea and vomiting, while slipping into a deep sleep. An overdose can result in shallow breathing, a lowered heart rate, convulsions, sweating, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, black-outs, and unconsciousness that lasts for several hours. An overdose of G is an emergent situation at requires EMS care.

Side Effects of G

G can be a very dangerous drug, as a few droplets of the chemical can mean the difference between a high and a life-threatening overdose. The danger of G is that it suppresses the respiration system, slowing breathing to the point of passing out. Side effects of using G include memory lapses, drowsiness, clumsiness, dizziness or headache, lowered temperature, tremors, nausea, and diarrhea. Combining G with alcohol can significantly increase the most dangerous side effects of the drug.

Dangers Of G-ing Out

GHB is a potent sedative that causes users to lose consciousness and fall into a deep sleep from which they might not wake for several hours. These users may vomit while they’re sleeping and choke to death. They may also begin to convulse or have  trouble breathing. Users sometimes wake to discover that alarmed friends or family have rushed them to hospital for emergency care.

G: The Date Rape Drug

GHB’s liquid form allows predators to slip it into drinks, and its sedative effects prevent victims from resisting sexual assault. GHB can also cause amnesia, meaning that once people who have consensually or non-consensually consumed the drug recover from its effects, they may not remember what they have experienced during sedation.

Risks of G Addiction

For those suffering with GHB addiction, the consequences can be especially devastating. Like many other drug addictions, GHB addiction is defined by tolerance, physical dependence, and regular use of the drug despite negative consequences. Still, GHB addiction remains underrepresented in both medical research and users’ self reports. The Office of National Drug Control Policy in fact has reported only 72 GHB-related deaths since the 1990s, even though more than 16K users have overdosed on the drug.

Many addiction specialists suspect that GHB deaths have gone unreported based on the circumstances surrounding drug use (such as chemsex parties) or on a cultural stigma attached to G users that is often rooted in homophobia. This secrecy may prevent many users who are addicted to G from entering treatment and, for users who stop using the drug abruptly, the withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. Medical professionals have written that these symptoms may include anxiety, difficulty sleeping, paranoia, hallucinations, tachycardia, and fatal seizures.

For our team at Suntra, this secrecy has led us to increase our sensitivity training in the intervention process. On the one hand, we know that we are confronting the general shame and secrecy that most families experience in helping a loved one struggling with addiction. On the other hand, we know that we may also be confronting other kinds of shame related to the circumstances surrounding drug use.

Read more about crystal meth interventions in the LGBT community here.

About Suntra and Adam Banks

Adam Banks is a certified interventionist and recovery coach at Suntra Modern Recovery.  He received an MBA from the University of Chicago and built a company, which United Health Care acquired. He learned his rigor and attention to detail from his career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Today Adam is dedicated to working with individuals that want to change their relationship to drinking.  Families to help untangle crisis situations through a loving and inclusive approach to interventions often call Adam Banks.  Adam often engages in coaching executives, pilots, and physicians in recovery.

Suntra offers a free video course for families considering hosting an intervention for a family member.

Suntra Modern Recovery provides medical treatment for alcohol and opiate addictions via video visit with medical doctors. Suntra’s alcohol and drug intervention services are available locally in New York, Long Island, the Hamptons as well as nationally and internationally. Treatment for alcohol, opiate and heroin addiction, including Suboxone treatment, can start today.

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