Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Drink spiking

Drink spiking
beginning of content

GHB

2-minute read

GHB is a drug commonly found around the dance and party scene. It has been described as a date-rape drug because it can be disguised in food and drinks. It leads to amnesia, impaired movement and speech. GHB’s main risk is from an overdose, especially if it’s taken with other depressant drugs, potentially leading to coma and death.

What is GHB?

GHB is a bitter or salty tasting liquid that may be odourless or have a slight odour. It is usually clear, but may be coloured bright blue. GHB can also be produced in powder or pill form.

GHB is an abbreviation of the chemical name gamma-hydroxybutyric acid.

It’s also known as G, GBH (grievous bodily harm), fantasy, gamma G, blue nitro and liquid E, liquid ecstasy, liquid X, Georgia Home Boy, soap, scoop, cherry meth, and fishies.

Although GHB is sometimes called liquid ecstasy due to its effects, it’s not chemically related to the drug ecstasy (MDMA).

GHB effects

GHB is a depressant drug, which means it slows down the messages travelling to and from the brain. It was originally developed as a general anaesthetic.

The effects of GHB start about 15 to 20 minutes after it’s taken. The early effects of GHB are the same as alcohol intoxication, such as reduced inhibitions, increased sex drive and having slurred speech. Users can become uncoordinated, forgetful, feel sick and vomit. These effects appear earlier if GHB is taken with alcohol. The effects last for up to 4 hours.

GHB is linked to date rape and sexual assaults. It can be camouflaged in drinks, particularly opaque and strong tasting drinks, and leaves the person who took it unable to remember much of what happened.

It’s very easy to overdose on GHB, especially if it’s taken with alcohol. Overdose can lead to coma and death.

Little is known about the long-term effects of GHB, but regular users do become dependent on it.

Find out about GHB’s mental health effects. You can find information on getting help on the Drug Help website or by calling the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2019


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

GHB - Alcohol and Drug Foundation

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is a depressant, which means it slows down the messages travelling between the brain and the body.

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

GHB - Better Health Channel

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is an illegal drug that acts as a nervous system depressant. It is also called grievous bodily harm (GBH) or fantasy. GHB is highly addictive. It produces feelings of euphoria, relaxation, sociability and an increased urge for sex. However, even a small increase in dose can cause serious effects or death. GHB has been used to spike drinks and as a 'date rape' drug.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

What is GHB: effects, addiction, abuse and treatment - myDr.com.au

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.

Read more on myDr website

GHB Effects, Overdose and Poisoning | Your Room

GHB comes with many short and long term side effects. Find out what to do in the case of overdose or poisoning and places to get help.

Read more on NSW Health website

Alcohol Overview - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Alcohol Overview page on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website

Read more on AIHW – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website

Blog: Don't let a cold take you out of action for four years... | Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority - ASADA

...is your medication prohibited in sport?The days are getting shorter and colder which means the cold and flu season is also here.

Read more on Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) website

Coronavirus - your questions answered | Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority - ASADA

Your questions about the impact coronavirus (COVID-19) has on our testing program are answered.

Read more on Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) website

Pregnancy - Pregnancy Topics - Illegal drugs during pregnancy

All illegal drugs may affect an unborn baby

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Illicit Drugs - General - Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre

Illicit Drugs – General An illicit drug is one that is illegal to have (for example, cannabis, heroin, and cocaine), and the non-medical use of drugs that are legally available such as pain killers and sleeping pills [1894]

Read more on Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website

Chronic Disease - Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre

Chronic Disease Alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs have been linked to a greater likelihood of developing a chronic disease, or worsening the symptoms of an existing chronic disease

Read more on Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo