Toxicologists warn against using date-rape drug GHB as a 'zero calorie alternative to binge drinking' after schoolteacher overdoses

Also known as liquid ecstacy, GHB has recently been making the rounds as an alternative to binge-drinking, but the small dose required for overdose makes it highly dangerous.


                            Toxicologists warn against using date-rape drug GHB as a 'zero calorie alternative to binge drinking' after schoolteacher overdoses

Gamma hydroxybutyrate or GHB was first synthesized for use as an anesthetic in the 1960s but soon built a notorious reputation for being a "date rape" drug. But in a recent trend, the drug has been making a comeback as a recreational alternative to binge-drinking because it doesn’t contain sugar or comes with a hangover, but still induces euphoria.

But toxicologists warns that the drug is easy to overdose on even in small amounts, and can put a victim in a coma within minutes, The Daily Mail reports.

The worrying development comes after a teacher at a prestigious Catholic school next to Westminster Cathedral died from an accidental overdose of the drug, which also goes by the nickname ‘liquid ecstasy’.

Helena Keane, 24, taught at the highly esteemed St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School. She was found dead on May 21 after she failed to turn up to her first holy communion at the school and couldn't be reached by the headmistress.



 

Tests revealed she had 518 mg of GHB per milliliter of blood – double the level that can cause a coma. As mentioned aearlier, GHB has been associated with ‘date rape’ – after victims’ drinks were spiked with doses – or ‘chemsex’, where the drug is taken in small doses to enhance libido.

Dr. Rebecca Andrews, deputy head of toxicology at Imperial College London, told Southwark Coroner’s Court: "It’s been reported to be used by females as a drug used on nights out because it has no calories, it doesn’t cause hangover effects and it’s very cheap. A recreational drug on nights out for the euphoria effects."

An accidental overdose on GHB could come from a tiny amount, especially when mixed with another central nervous system depressant such as alcohol. In fact, Dr. Andrews went on to explain how GBH’s small required dose was "the most dangerous thing about it."

She added: "The main thing is the fine line between taking a recreational dose and taking something that may cause someone to have toxic effects."

It is not known how Miss Keane consumed the drug prior to her death. Daily Mail reported how her father asked at the inquest whether it was possible his daughter’s drink had been spiked.

Dr Andrews replied: “That’s one of the uses of GHB but it also has other recreational uses where people choose to take it.”

Miss Keane, originally from north Staffordshire, was last seen by a flatmate two days before her body was found. Text messages indicated she planned to meet a drug dealer near her home that evening.