With so many voices and opinions out there, it’s important to understand the facts.
Fact is that while you’re a teen (and even into your early 20’s!), you’re still growing and developing, and drug abuse during these years in particular can have a lasting impact. Another fact to consider: the brain is much more vulnerable to addiction as it continues to develop as well. 90% of Americans with a substance abuse problem starting smoking, drinking or using other drugs before age 18.
When it comes to drug use, individual reactions and experiences vary, so it’s important to understand the usual risks and effects, both short- and long-term. Knowledge can be the key to making your own best decisions.
Keep reading to the get the facts on the most frequently abused substances.
GHB, or Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, is a depressant that affects the central nervous system.1 It first became popular as a club drug at all-night dance parties and raves. It is sometimes used in combination with other party drugs, like Ecstasy and alcohol, which increases its risks, and can be lethal.
GHB has severe physical effects. These can range from vomiting, drowsiness and visual distortion, to unconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate and even death. Its effects on the brain, including confusion and memory loss – even amnesia – lower your defenses and can make you especially vulnerable. Because GHB is generally taken in a liquid mixture, it’s easy to take it without knowing it, and easy to take too much, which puts you in a vulnerable situation—that’s why it’s known as a date rape drug. Even at a low dose, the drug is extremely dangerous, but taken at a higher dose, or when combined with alcohol, GHB can lead to lung failure, coma and even death.2
Using GHB repeatedly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.2
The Bottom Line
With GHB, the nickname “grievous bodily harm” is actually no joke. Coma and seizures can occur whenever you use GHB. Combined with other drugs or alcohol, its use can result in lung failure and death.1
National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts: Club Drugs (GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol). Revised July 2010. Retrieved July 2011. View Source
U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency. Drugs of Abuse: GHB Retrieved August 2011. View Source