Ok, I have been toying with the idea of writing this article for some time and the more I think about it the more I feel compelled to go forward. So here it is. The ugly truth about GHB the “Date Rape Drug” that many people simply do not want to read.
Before I delve into this overly sensitive topic, let me preface by saying that I have been taking GHB daily, in the form of Xyrem, for the past 4 months. I am under a doctors treatment for insomnia and I take between 6 and 9 grams per night, depending on the amount of sleep that I need.
I started taking GHB in October 2010 because none of the popular/traditional sleep aids offered anything but temporary relief from my chronic insomnia. I took Ambien and while it did induce sleep in the beginning, I quickly became tolerant and in the end it simply stopped working all together. Next, I was prescribed Rozerum which had absolutely no effect. Next was Lunesta. Wow… Lunesta provided some sleep but totally destroyed my short term memory. At one point, I could have a meeting on Thursday and by Friday I could recall that I had been in a meeting but could not tell you any of the topics that were discussed. Since my job relies heavily on new ideas and creativity this mental impairment caused by Lunesta was unacceptable. The Lunesta fiasco culminated with an 11 hours block of missing memory where I drove my car and withdrew money from the bank; all with no conscious awareness. This scared the Hell out of me and I began my search for an alternative.
Needless to say, I was also battling serious depression and chronic anxiety. I was on the back side of a divorce. The insomnia was causing me very serious problems at work and my relationship with me teen daughter was practically non-existent. I had become a “sleep zombie”. Sleep (or the lack there of) was my constant mental burden. Either I had not slept in days and therefore the desire for sleep was my ever present thought, or I had a “good night”, which would be 3 to 4 hours of sleep, which caused my constant thoughts to revolve around when I would get to sleep the next night. I would sleep 2 or 3 hours, then go 2 or 3 days with no sleep, then maybe another 2 or 3 hours. My weekends were always the same. I would come home from work, go to bed about 7:00 PM on Friday and get up about 3:00 PM on Saturday afternoon. Then I would go to bed about 3:00 AM Saturday night and sleep until around 10:00 AM to Noon. The Sunday night would start the new cycle of insomnia, depression and anxiety. I was going crazy in more ways than I care to recall. Then my research paid off in the form of the following paragraph:
Medical use of GHB
From the date it was synthesized it has been used as a general anesthetic, and a hypnotic in the treatment of insomnia. GHB has also been used to treat clinical depression, and improve athletic performance. Food and Drug Administration have permitted the use of GHB under the trade name Xyrem in patients with narcolepsy, a form of sleep disorder. GHB is also used in the treatment of alcoholism. It is used to treat both, acute alcohol withdrawal and medium to long term detoxification.
I had some passing familiarity with GHB. I knew that when I was going to the gym in California I had heard bodybuilders talking about it and how it promoted muscle growth and relaxation and how GHB would speed recovery time after a hard workout. I also remember hearing ravers talking about taking GHB and dancing all night or taking GHB and having marathon sex sessions, and I recall both groups saying that if you took too much “G” you would go into a very deep sleep. The words very deep sleep activated the same areas of my brain that would be activated had I heard you just won the lottery. My new goal became learning everything I could about GHB. Fortunately, insomnia gives you countless hours to do research. While the rest of the world was sleeping I was on the trail of good sleep and I was closing in faster by the minute.
As I researched GHB and it’s legal incarnation Xyrem, a polarity quickly emerged. The PWN (People With Narcolepsy) over at the Talk About Sleep Forum were raving about Xyrem and how it changed lives and gave them the lives that they had only dreamed of having. Then the anti-GHB crowd at Project GHB railed about the dangers of GHB, deaths, rapes, and serious GHB Withdrawal Syndrome. People in one camp are taking GHB for extended periods and stopping cold turkey for months with no adverse side effects or withdrawals and people in another camp are voicing concerns about addiction and deadly consequences for mistreated withdrawal.
There are three sides to every story, her side, his side, and the truth. ~ Unknown
In the Xyrem/GHB debate there are three obvious sides. The pro-GHB side, which is populated with alternative medicine, anti-aging and bodybuilding members, claims that GHB is natural, and when use properly, safe and non-addictive. They cite over 30 years of international research and decades of over-the-counter sales of GHB in American health food stores. The present a very compelling argument for the safety and efficacy of GHB.
On the polar opposite end of the debate are the anti-GHB people who are composed largely of law enforcement and some medical professionals that present case histories in stark contrast to those presented by the other side. The anti-GHB camp publishes anecdotal reports of addiction, withdrawal and sometimes death, but rarely present any cold hard facts. Nothing highlights this stark contrast more than the case of Hillory J. Farias. Hillory was the poster child for the dangers of Date Rape and was honored in death by sharing the name of the “Date Rape Bill” signed by President Cllinton. Hillory is still prominently listed on the Project GHB website as a GHB fatality. The problem with this is that it has been proved that Hillory J. Farias never consumed any GHB and her death was caused by a genetic heart defect.
So those are the 2 sides. Truth can be found in the middle.
In my family there are a large number of police officers. I remember my Dad once saying, “The streets don’t lie.” He said that if a significant number of people on the street tell you that the blue house on the block has a stolen car in the garage the chances of finding a car thief are amazingly high.
People are generally very open and honest about their day to day experiences in life and when they have nothing to gain by bending the facts, you can often find the best truth. The group in the middle of the GHB/Xyrem propaganda war are those prescribed Xyrem.
Here is a question posed by me on the Talk About Sleep forum:
In the months that you skipped Xyrem due to price did you suffer any of the “GHB withdrawal” symptoms?
Here is a reply:
I stop and restart all the time, whenever hubby is out of town. No withdrawl at all.
Another Xyrem user stated the following, “I have skipped months due to price increases. That would be May 2009, and October of 2008.” This user has never reported any adverse side effects associated with suddenly stopping the medication.
What is GHB Withdrawal Syndrome?
I am not sure, because I have never met or talked to anyone who has any first hand knowledge. In fact, GHB Withdrawal Syndrome seems to be somewhat of an enigma. All of the information seems to be second hand at best. Here is what I have found.
GHB Withdrawal Symptoms:
- auditory and visual hallucinations
- severe agitation
I am not a doctor. The only things I have to go by are my research skills and my life experience, which I will relate to you here and you are free to draw your own conclusions.
In December 2010, I decided to drive the 1400 miles from my home to visit my family in another part of the country. As you can imagine, driving that distance took more than one day. Prior to embarking on the trip I had been exchanging email with one of the most public and outspoken GHB opponents. This person told me that it was not a matter of if GHB would turn on me, but a matter of when it would happen. I must admit that I had slight trepidation about the abrupt GHB cessation necessary to drive 2800 miles round trip. Without boring you with the uneventful details, I will say that I made the 36 hour trip in both directions without any GHB in my system and without any sudden onset of delirium, auditory and visual hallucinations, disorientation, and severe agitation.
Why did I not experience ANY of the effects reportedly associated with abrupt GHB cessation?
Some would argue that I am not on a 24/7 dosing schedule.
Ok, I have read reports of people taking 2 to 3 grams of GHB every 3 to 4 hours. That would be 16 to 18 grams a day. I regularly take 9 grams per day and sometimes take as much as 13.5. Is there really that much difference?
Until I see a clinical report on someone that has been treated for GHB Withdrawal I am going to withhold judgment. As far as my experience goes; I strongly doubt that is exists.