Free Essay: The Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) Drug and Its Reaction With Alcohol

Published: 2023-02-08
Free Essay: The Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) Drug and Its Reaction With Alcohol
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Criminal law Substance abuse Sexual abuse Drug abuse
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1210 words
11 min read

The drug Gamma Hydroxybutyrate is one the drugs that are increasingly being abused even though it has a lethal effect on the human body. The drug acts as a depressant to the central nerves system and is mostly abused with the aim of feeling uninhibited. The abuse of the drug may call for immediate, and emergency medical attention in case withdrawal symptoms are witnessed.

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GHB is often available as a colorless, odorless drug is mixed with alcohol and given to the unsuspecting victims of sexual assault. The combination of the GHB drug and alcohol has been greatly linked to death, especially among the youths. Such combinations between GHB and alcohol can be much dangerous because they slow down the life-sustaining functions of the central nervous system. The two substances also have combined effect of alteration of the mind functions (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). However, the number of death cases that have been recorded in the recent past could be an underestimate because the GHB drug does not stay for a long time within the bloodstream. The use of this drug for sexual assault has resulted in it being referred to as the 'date rape' drug. The drug often induces amnesia.

The progression of the effects of the mixture of GHB and alcohol begins with relief from anxiety sedation hypnosis confusion surgical anesthesia (characterized by depression of the respiratory centers in the brainstem) coma Death. The treatment of overdose could be done through by the use of a benzodiazepine receptor blocker.

When alcohol and GHB are mixed, their depressant effects are greatly amplified, and a person is likely to fall a victim of sexual assault as well as accidents.They both act on the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination as well as the ability to make decisions.

Categories of Street Drugs

The major toxicities ever recorded for street drugs always result from for major categories namely the stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens, and depressants. The main examples of stimulants include methamphetamine, cocaine, phenmetrazine, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Methamphetamine is usually produced in illegal labs using toxic and explosive chemicals (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). These lab events result in injuries of the respondents as well as the members of the public. The stimulants are characterized by increased energy and alertness. The short time effects of the stimulants include exhaustion and depression while the long-time addiction and repeated high doses of the drug may subsequently cause feeling of paranoia and hostility.

On the other hand, the depressants include barbiturates such as yellow jackets, blue angels and purple hearts. The benzodiazepines include sleeping pills, valium, Xanax, Librium, anticonvulsant and Quaalude. Rohypnol is another clinical drug that has become more popular among young adults and teenagers. It is used as short management for insomnia, and its effects on the body vary with the dose and exposure period.

Furthermore, hallucinogens are a set of drugs that result in distortion in a person's perception of reality. The distortion in perception is often referred to as hallucination. The commonly abused hallucinogens include lysergic acid diethylamide (a chemical made from a fungus that grows on grains), mescaline and psilocybin among others (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). On the other hand, narcotics are set of drugs that induce sleep, reduce pain and may cause alteration of the mood and behavior of individuals. The substances that are under this category include coca leaves and cocaine. Excessive use of the narcotics may increase the risks of infections and diseases in the body. The main effects of the use of include drowsiness, vasodilation of subcutaneous blood vessels, and respiratory depression.

The Toxicological Principles

The rational management of the individual morbidity and mortality caused by chemical exposures in the United States of America calls for the need to incorporate the basic principles of toxicology. The most significant toxicology principles employed in the evaluation of the poisoned individuals include exposure and aspects related to reducing absorption, dose-response consideration, target tissues, and the systemic effects, chemical interactions, chemical antagonism as a management approach as well as acute versus chronic effects.

Exposure and Aspects Related to Reducing Exposure

The principle of exposure and aspects related to reducing exposure can be applied to the use of cocaine. The physical state of the chemical substance largely determines the route of exposure to the substance. The water-soluble cocaine is often injected intravenously while the crack cocaine is smoked. However, the route of exposure to this drug has an influence in the toxicity of the same dose of the drug used, for example, when the drug is injected the whole dose is systemically delivered into the bloodstream within seconds, and this results into increased feeling of alertness ,sexuality, and confidence (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). On the other hand, application of the cocaine into the nasal mucosa causes a reduction in the rate of absorption due to the local vasoconstriction and the reduced peak plasma level.

Acute Versus Chronic Effects

In order to effectively manage cocaine toxicity level in the body the principle of acute versus chronic effects of the drug must be well understood. For instance, cocaine is sympathomimetic and results in behavior changes as well as increased blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension among others (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). The overdose of cocaine is always fatal, and the management of severe cocaine intoxication include adoption of deliberate measure to antagonize the effects of the substance.

Reduction of Toxicant Absorption

For systemic toxicity, absorption is often a requirement, and the reduction in absorption vary significantly. For instance, the only way to reduce the respiratory exposures to the toxicant is to shorten the exposure time to the chemical or simply to eliminate it from the breathing zone. However, the absorption of the chemicals spilled on the skin can be reduced through a variety of ways depending on the concentration and nature of the chemical as well as the contact time. For instance, decontamination could be used to reduce the likelihood of absorption of undiluted liquids that have short exposure time on the skin (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). These undiluted liquids are washed with water and soap as quickly as possible to reduce the exposure time thus limiting the likelihood of absorption into the body tissues through the skin.

Moreover, in the case of oral consumption of the toxic chemicals, the absorption could be reduced through activated charcoal and lavage depending on the chemical characteristics. For instance, if the chemical has already been absorbed into the bloodstream charcoal hemoperfusion may be adopted as a clinical option to reduce fatal intoxications. However, in case a person has ingested a life-threatening toxic agent in the previous 1-2 hours gastric lavage could be used. The gastric lavage is not recommended for corrosive chemicals because it may result in the esophageal and gastric perforations. Again, if the chemical contains petroleum substances it may cause chemical pneumonitis.

Activated charcoal is always recommended in the prevention of chemical absorption because it absorbs a wide variety of toxic agents and chemicals within one hour to two hours of ingestion (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). The activated chemical has been seen to be more effective for several pharmaceutical drugs such as aspirin, paracetamol among others.


Richards, I. S., & Bourgeois, M. M. (2014). Principles and practice of toxicology in public health (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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