Drugs A to Z

GHB: Factsheet

GHB soy fish bottle
Targeted Drugs:

This resource has undergone expert review.

Year 9–10, Year 11–12
Time Allocated

Partial lesson (under 45mins)





What is GHB?

GHB is also known as fantasy, grievous bodily harm, GBH, liquid ecstasy, liquid E, G, or Gina.

GHB is short for gamma-hydroxybutyrate and it is naturally produced in small amounts by the body. It is almost always sold as a clear or blue liquid that doesn't have a smell. It comes in a little vial such as a fish-shaped sushi soy sauce container and it is normally swallowed. Problems with safety, including concerns about its use as a date rape drug, have led to it being classified as an illegal drug.

Sometimes other substances called GBL and 1,4B are sold as GHB because they have similar effects but may be stronger or more toxic. This increases the change of an overdose.

Although it is sometimes referred to as liquid ecstasy or liquid E, it is not related to ecstasy at all.

What are the effects of GHB?

Once swallowed, GHB takes around 15–30 minutes to take effect and the effects last for about half an hour.

The effects of GHB vary but include those listed in the table below.

Immediate Long-term
Increased heart rate and chest pains Little is known about the long-term effects of GHB 
Drowsiness, passing out, blackouts or memory loss  
Blurred vision  
Feeling relaxed  
Feeling of euphoria (a ‘high’)  
Hot/cold flushes  
Heavy sweating  
Confusion and agitation  
Nausea and vomiting  
Headaches and dizziness  
Tremors or shaking  
Difficulty breathing  

Evidence Base

This factsheet was developed following expert review by researchers at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney, the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, and the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University.

Download attachment for more information on GHB and a list of sources.
Download 'GHB: What you need to know'

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