Imagine if you were an alcoholic and you drank every day
and woke up feeling like shit and somebody gave you something
where you could get the same sensation of getting fucked up
and you wake up the next morning feeling fresh
and you've actually slept well.
That's the danger of G,
it's almost too good.
GHB, or its precursor chemical,
the industrial cleaning product GBL,
is a deadly drug that has been sneaking into dance floors
It's previously been known as a date rape drug
and for its use in the gay chemsex scene,
but we've discovered that under the radar it's been spreading
into mainstream nightlife.
One milliliter too much can land you in a coma or kill you.
Anybody who raves knows someone who takes G and anyone who takes G
seems to know of somebody who's died.
We wanted to know how popular GHB really is but the problem is that
there's no reliable statistics on how many people are taking it.
So we decided to do a call out asking people for their experiences
taking the drug
and pretty much immediately
we were inundated with voicemails and videos from all across Europe.
Music sounds a lot better,
sex feels a lot better.
I've always had good positive effects from it.
Recently my mate passed away on it.
He was on G and then he fell asleep. Just didn't wake up.
Some of my friends have been hospitalized and died,
some of them have even tried to commit suicide off it.
It makes you feel horny if you like, or fruity.
G makes you feel really active.
It was like, a pretty dramatic uptake in the Berlin scene.
GHB was my favorite drug experience that I've ever had.
When you have GHB, you blackout,
you are not in control of whatever you do.
Some people claim that the Netherlands is one of the places
where GHB began its new relationship with dance culture.
In the last five years, Amsterdam's OLVG hospital
has seen a 266% increase in GHB overdose admissions.
We've just come to Groningen which is in the northern Netherlands.
We're here to meet a dealer who sells GHB
and according to him, this area is going through
a bit of a GHB epidemic
especially amongst the hardcore music scene
and the police have started to make it a priority.
Hey man I'm at the address you gave me.
"OK, I'll come out, just a sec."
Is this the G?
This is it, yeah, absolutely.
And what's this over here?
- Coke. - OK.
Do you sell Coke as well?
Out of all the stuff that you sell, which sells the most?
GHB, for sure.
So why did you start selling GHB?
People are getting more and more into GHB.
It would be stupid to not take advantage of that,
also because it's so easy to get.
It's so easy to produce.
It's low effort, high price, high profit.
It's a perfect business to be honest.
How do you usually measure it out?
I just put it in a big bowl.
So how many milliliters is that or are you still going?
So this has to be 50 in total.
How much is this 50 ml bottle going to go for?
So it's about 1 euro per milliliter.
That's incredibly cheap.
Is that one of the appeals of this drug?
Most people I sell to are pretty heavy users.
And they'll f**king use it in church, anywhere.
So they're using it every day? They're addicted?
How aware are you of the dangers of GHB?
Pretty aware, I've seen a lot of people going to s**t
who were using it.
Do you know people who have died from it?
Yeah, maybe around five or six people I know have died from it,
from overdosing on it,
on the party itself, so it will happen.
There's nothing people can do about it.
How popular is G in the Netherlands?
It's absolutely an epidemic.
So many people using it nowadays compared to a few years back.
Well my mates are actually up there.
I see the cool masks so I assume you guys always hang out like this.
For a pre-party, I feel like it's quite a lot of cocaine.
- Yeah. - It is.
Do you guys do G as well?
Yeah I like the feeling but I don't want to do it too often.
- So what are you doing now? - Taking the GHB.
So I just poured it in from the little tube.
So what does that taste like?
Well it's a bit thick
so you really feel it gliding through your throat.
So do you just take GHB as like, a chill one?
I really like it for just a casual setting
When you go to these hardcore parties
do you see people on G often?
At a festival people often use a lot
like all day and all night.
They get really active and energetic and they start making weird noises
and doing weird things with their hands
and at the end of the festival they're just f**ked.
Bright and early the next day, I was with Dirk and his friend
on a five hour road trip to Europe's biggest hardstyle festival.
So it's 7 AM and we're on the party bus
to this hardcore festival
and as soon as we got on the bus,
they started playing hardcore very loud
and everyone started doing very large amounts of drugs.
And meanwhile the whole time
these two guys are pipetting out
doses of GHB for the bus ride
and it's still not even 9 AM.
On the bus stop, some people asked me to make these
so just making them on custom order.
The guys took a break from their mobile drug laboratory
to sell capsules of G to people at the petrol station.
They then took their first dose
and for some reason set an alarm.
So we've just arrived at the festival
after a gruelling four hour bus ride
and I noticed you putting an alarm on your phone.
What was that for?
I do that because otherwise I will take a shot earlier
than I should be.
Basically keep yourself from overdosing.
That's the point of it.
The combination of speed, cocaine, G,
alcohol and 200 BPM music
might seem like a recipe for disaster,
but for the veteran drug users of Holland's hardcore scene,
G has simply become another drug on the narcotic menu
that makes violently punching the air more enjoyable.
But it's not just the Dutch gabber scene where GHB is taking hold.
The drug is quickly spreading.
Especially to Europe's Disneyland of drugs,
We've heard that GHB is bigger here than anywhere else.
It's sort of a strange world with no rules or ramifications,
where it's kind of like an arms race to see who can do the most
and the most intense drugs.
Yeah, GHB is getting quite popular.
Slowly everyone is knowing about it and people are taking it.
The younger generation is trying their hand at it
and with something that's really quite dangerous and heavy.
Well, when I first came out here last year
I was like, "That's f**king weird as f**k,
why the f**k would I ever take that? That's weird."
But then I took it because I was like "Oh why not."
It's actually quite cheap in comparison to like,
cocaine or something like that.
We're all f**ked up on the Gs
people are going to be horny as f**k, do you know what I mean?
Now we're even talking about it now, it makes me actually want to do it.
Give me some f**king Geebs.
You see people getting carried out of clubs all the time in Ibiza.
I know of people who have died from taking Geebs
or things that are related to taking Geebs.
I went under
and I was taken to an ambulance, had to be resuscitated
because I nearly died.
At the first party we went to,
we immediately saw a girl being taken away on a stretcher by paramedics.
It can't be verified but we were told by her friends
that she had taken too much GHB.
If we saw a potential G overdose, known as 'Going under',
after two hours of landing in Ibiza,
we could only begin to imagine how many similar tragedies
were happening on this island at any given time.
It's not just your health that's a problem when partying on G.
It can dramatically affect your behaviour
with users reporting an almost feral libido.
For example, it took several police officers to subdue this Dutch man
after he lost control on G.
People have done things that are probably out of character.
They've acted, not within their own headspace.
At the time it made my friend so horny
that she had to go back to our apartment
and use one of our friend's dildos.
If you dose too high and you take too much you act irrationally,
and you're super horny and kind of touchy
but in a way that could offend people.
In 2018 the Ibiza resident DJ, Jackmaster
was accused of touching people inappropriately during a G session
and it heavily impacted his career.
So much so, that he hasn't spoken to the press until now.
I first started using GBL four or five years ago.
I started to like it
and I got to the stage where I was really relying on it to do gigs
like if I didn't have it before a gig and during a gig
I would feel pretty anxious.
My use of it just started to spiral out of control, you know.
I was buying it in liters.
I would have a liter under my sink in the house.
I've woken up at festivals before
in a pool of my own sweat
but freezing cold
and I've not even known what festival I was at.
Would you call it an addiction?
I would probably call it an addiction, yeah.
I mean at my 30th birthday,
I overdosed on G and I collapsed on stage.
That was probably as close as I've ever had in my life to dying you know
and I probably was close
and I did promise that I would stop
and you know, I just fell into the same bad patterns months after
because the drug had such a hold on me, you know.
Since then, worse things have happened, you know.
There was a situation at a festival last year
and I've been told that I had acted inappropriately to a number of women
at the festival.
I was bouncing around from girl to girl
just being inappropriate, grabbing them, trying to kiss them.
You don't want to blame the drug and make it an excuse.
It's absolutely not an excuse man,
but it does go some way to explaining why I acted out of character.
I chose to pick up that bottle and drink it.
It's my fault.
I'm just so sorry and upset that, you know, I hurt these women,
I hurt the spirit of these women and it's just,
it's just really been heartbreaking for me to know that.
And you know, there's a lot of people in the dance music scene
who are addicted to G and who are using it far too much.
So do you know many DJs who are using GHB?
I know a lot, not just DJs.
I know a lot of people in the scene who are doing it, you know,
at after parties and stuff.
It's the number one drug that people use to stay awake
and hop from after party to after party
and it's just that's a really dangerous culture
considering the severity of the effects that
that drug can have on you.
The growing popularity of G,
combined with the lack of awareness about its dangers,
is inevitably going to lead to more and more overdoses.
I wondered how frequently British doctors were
dealing with GHB casualties
and what you can do to help people who have gone under.
How dangerous is GHB compared to other drugs?
It's a very dangerous drug if used in overdose.
If you had to estimate how many people per week come in here
with a GHB overdose?
I guess it's about two to three a week, maybe more.
But it's pretty regular.
It's a fairly common thing.
- Really? - Yeah, absolutely.
So one of the problems with it is that it's not just the overdose,
it's also that people can also withdraw from it
and if somebody stops GHB suddenly,
they can have quite severe withdrawal symptoms,
much as you would if you were a dependent heroin user
and you suddenly stopped using it.
So is GHB particularly addictive?
Yeah, it has got addictive tendencies, yes.
Is there a way to take GHB safely?
I guess the only way to be taking it safely would be
in an incredibly regulated fashion
where there is no danger of you overdosing,
in an environment where everybody knows exactly what to do
if you do overdose.
That sounds like a pretty unlikely environment.
I think it is.
What can someone do if they see someone who is passed out from GHB?
Certainly if someone starts snoring or they become really unrousable,
then you've got to be worried.
If somebody has passed out
and you're worried that they're going to lose their airway,
they might suffocate,
you need to get them to hospital.
You can just simply put the person in the recovery position,
keep an eye on them
try and keep them awake and get help.
How can you tell if someone's passed out from GHB?
Most of the deaths are pre-hospital
so there isn't a specific test that we do in the emergency department
to look for GHB
or in any other emergency department.
So there's not really any way of us
knowing the scale of the GHB problem?
There are toxicology testing that you can do for GHB
which can be done in a post-mortem setting.
One of the things with it is that the results aren't instantaneous
so within an emergency department you need to do tests
that are going to give you results right now
so you can act on them to care for your patient.
but we certainly don't do a full, complete toxicological drug screen
that would take a few days to come back for every single patient
who comes through our doors.
Emergency departments in the UK aren't testing
for GHB or GBL in situ,
and post-mortem toxicology reports rarely are either,
despite searching for over 300 other drugs.
The dilemma is that public health bodies across Europe
won't acknowledge there's a problem unless there are statistics,
but will only gather comprehensive statistics
when they know there's a problem.
Because of this, the reports that have been published
are merely the tip of the iceberg.
From everything we've seen,
G does seem to be spreading rapidly
and that increase in popularity is being matched
by a dangerous lack of awareness.
I don't know what the f**king recommended amount is
and young people aren't going to know what the recommended amount is,
so the information is not there for people.
There should be a lot more education on GHB
and recommended dosages as well
so that people know how much to take.
Part of the danger of it is how good it is
and that's why I think there needs to be education.
The stigma that surrounds drugs isn't helping
which is especially amplified
when it comes to the date rape rust remover drug, GHB.
The comas and deaths will continue to happen
until we accept that a ton of people
are taking these dangerous drugs,
and open up the conversation
to spread awareness.