Party drug GHB no longer legal in the Netherlands
The party drug GHB has just been officially added to the list of hard drugs, meaning that it is no longer legal in the Netherlands. Minister of Health Edith Schippers decided to add GHB to the list of prohibited drugs last September, but the decision was only officially confirmed by the public prosecution's national office earlier this month.
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric-acid) is a liquid drug that is used typically in nightlife, and is also known as G, liquid ecstasy, liquid X, or liquid E due to its tendency to produce euphoria and sociability (although it is chemically and pharmacologically different from ecstasy).
In recent years an increasing number of serious health incidents involving GHB have made headlines across the Netherlands. GHB has been shown to inhibit the elimination rate of alcohol, leading to problems when the two substances are consumed together, it can cause the user to pass out for several hours upon overdose, and has also been labelled as a date rape drug.
A team of Dutch researchers was recently commissioned by the Minister of Health to re-assess the risks associated with GHB.
They found that the number of incidents associated with GHB use is relatively high compared to other illicit drugs, mainly because inexperienced users were unaware of its potential adverse effects, and concluded that the overall risk potential was moderate to high.
This led to the Minister's decision to upgrade GHB to a hard drug.
Their research was published in the scientific journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, you can find the abstract here.