GHB abuse



Gamma hydroxybutyrate

Once sold at health stores, GHB’s effects are related to dose. Effects range from mild relaxation to coma or death. GHB is often used as a date-rape because it is tasteless, colourless and acts as a powerful sedative.

GHB is generally swallowed, although a small number of people inject it. It can be very hard to judge the amount taken, as the quality and strength of drugs can vary greatly from one batch to another. 

Using GHB carries a high risk of overdose due to the small difference between the amount required to produce a ‘high’ and that which causes overdose.


Low to moderate doses

  • feelings of euphoria
  • increased sex drive
  • lowered inhibitions
  • memory lapses
  • drowsiness
  • sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • low body temperature
  • slow heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • muscle tremors
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • urinary incontinence.

Higher doses

A high dose of GHB can cause a person to overdose. This means that a person has taken more GHB than their body can cope with. The effects can include:

  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • loss of coordination
  • irregular or shallow breathing
  • confusion, irritation and agitation
  • hallucinations
  • blackouts and memory lapses
  • unconsciousness (where people can’t be roused) that can last for 3–4 hours
  • seizures
  • respiratory arrest (stopping breathing) and death.

Drug detection times

Please use these figures as a guide only:

Alcohol: 3-5 days in urine, 10-12 hours in blood
Amphetamines: 1-3 days in urine and around 12 hours in blood
Barbiturates: 2-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Benzodiazepines: 3-6 weeks in urine and 2-3 days in blood
Cannabis: 7-30 days in urine and up to 2 weeks in blood
Cocaine: 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Codeine: 1 day in urine and up to 12 hours in blood
Heroin: 3-4 days in urine and up to 12 hours in blood
LSD: 1-3 days in urine and up to 2-3 hours in blood
MDMA (ecstasy): 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Methamphetamine (crystal meth): 3-6 days in urine and 24 – 72 hours in blood
Methadone: 3-4 days in urine and 24-36 hours in blood
Morphine: 2-3 days in urine and 6-8 hours in blood

Get help


You can do a self-test quiz on addiction, the Substance Abuse Quiz.

Counseling helpline

If you have more questions about GHB you may chat to an online facilitator on the LIVE CHAT. It is a text-based chat and you may remain anonymous.



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