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Liquid ecstasy: A new kid on the dance floor

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jacqueline Rodgers, Emeritus Professor Heather Ashton, Dr Eilish Gilvarry, Professor Allan Young


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Gamma-hydroxybutyrate misuse is a relatively recent phenomenon and one that is far from clearly understood in terms of the likely cost to the user and to the wider community. There have been no systematic studies of the prevalence of dependency on GHB in the UK, nor do we have sufficient information relating to the demographic characteristics or the patterns of drug use among GHB users in this country. In addition, the mechanisms underlying the development of tolerance to and the rewarding effects of GHB, as well as any possible interaction effects with other drugs, are poorly understood. Similarly, although research has clearly demonstrated the acute risks of use, we know very little about long-term emotional, neuropsychological and behavioural costs. It is likely, however, that as use of the drug and its precursors increases in the UK the psychiatric profession increasingly will be faced with individuals experiencing the adverse effects of use and withdrawal. What is clear from the research so far is that misuse of GHB places the individual and the wider community at significant risk. Further studies of the use and misuse of this potentially harmful substance are clearly needed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rodgers J, Ashton CH, Gilvarry E, Young AH

Publication type: Editorial

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2004

Volume: 184

Pages: 104-106

ISSN (print): 0007-1250

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1465


DOI: 10.1192/bjp.184.2.104

PubMed id: 14754820