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Man-made GHB also used against date rape victims

Liquid ecstasy is a manmade anaesthetic drug also known as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate).

The illegal drug has been popular in the club scene for the past 10 years but has been known to be used as a date rape drug.

Although it is called liquid E, it is not like ecstasy and its effects differ.

GHB is a bit like alcohol, only more potent. A capful can make you confident, happy and relaxed but too much will make the user dizzy, sick and confused.

It usually comes in an odourless and tasteless liquid form, hence its use as a date rape drug. It can be added to drinks and ingested without the victim's knowledge. It can also cause loss of self-control and memory, which makes it difficult for victims to recall what happened or identify their attacker.

Poisoning

It takes effect after 10 to 20 minutes but typically lasts up to four hours.

It can cause people to lose consciousness, while high doses can induce a coma. Other side-effects include seizures, nausea and poisoning. It is potentially lethal when mixed with other substances, particularly alcohol.

In a US case a number of years ago involving GHB, Max Factor heir Andrew Luster (39) was jailed for 124 years after being convicted of using GHB in rapes. He took three women to his home and raped them after giving them the drug.

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