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GHB: an ecstasy-based drug used for rape crimes

Reynhard Sinaga, a serial rapist from Indonesia recently revealed that he used to drug his victims before luring them into his house and assaulting them.

‘Convicted by a court in Manchester’, Sinaga was held accountable for over 136 rape cases, mostly involving men. Majority of his crimes included drugging the victim with an illegal drug, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which left them paralyzed – unable to defend themselves.

According to the criminal, he used to “lure drunk men from nearby nightclubs to his apartment”, and then either put their phone on charging or offer them a drink. He used GHB to spike their drinks, leaving the victim unconscious while he assaulted and raped them.

Recalling the assault, a victim of Sinaga’s actions told the court that he suspected “something odd” in the drink that he gave him. He said, “The drink looks like water, but there is a solvent in it, almost like salt. It’s not as transparent as water. I think I said to him, ‘what is this? This is not water, is it,” and he said, “This is water, you need to drink water.”

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Over the past couple of years, the use of GHB has been on the rise. It was also used in the “Burning Sun nightclub case in 2019 in South Korea, which involved K-Pop star Seungri, a member of the legendary group Big Bang.”

What is GHB?

Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, commonly known has GHB, is a central nervous system depressant, also referred to as a “club drug” or “date rape” drug. Mostly used in bars, nightclubs, parties and raves, the drug is used to “enhance social intimacy and sensory stimulation” by causing euphoria, increased sex drive and tranquility.

Given its anabolic properties, the odorless and colorless drug is generally used by body builders for muscle growth and fat reduction. However, it has been getting popular in the criminal underworld as well.

Sometimes soapy and salty to taste, the drug can be combined with alcohol and given to unsuspecting victims. Incapacitated due to the sedative properties of GHB, they are unable to resist sexual assault. It may also induce amnesia in its victims.

Due to the increasing culture of using it for its intoxicating effects and getting sexual pleasures without consent, GHB is also commonly known as the “date rape drug”. It is bought on the streets or over the internet and is mostly produced in illegal labs.

In 1990, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared GHB “unsafe and illegal” unless produced under “FDA-approved, physician-supervised protocols”.

GHB use can lead to a range of side effects, including, “sweating, loss of consciousness, nausea, auditory and visual hallucinations, headaches, vomiting, exhaustion and confusion”. It also possesses an addictive potential if used repeatedly, leading to severe withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors and sweating.

There are many other club drugs available in the market as well. According to Paul M. Gahlinger, ‘American researcher and physician’, the four most popular ones are:

  1. MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
  2. GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate)
  3. Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
  4. Ketalar (ketamine).

“MDMA is commonly known as ecstasy or molly, while GHB is on the street known as liquid ecstasy, G, liquid X, get-her-to-bed, salty water, soap and many more.


Mariyam Tanveer

Recently graduated from LUMS, I now work as Researcher and a Freelance Writer on Ask Health News

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