Channel 4’s Dispatches and BuzzFeed News have joined forces to investigate the impact of GHB (G), fronted by LGBT+ editor Patrick Strudwick. GHB is a silent killer which is killing hundreds of gay men per year and receives little attention.
Channel 4 Dispatches, BuzzFeed News and Terrence Higgins Trust have conducted the largest ever survey of GHB users, and reveal for the first time the human cost of the epidemic scale of abuse.
The findings will be discussed in the Dispatches documentary Sex Drugs and Murder, which will air on Channel 4 on September 8.
Frontline professionals say G use is a public health emergency, with daily overdose admissions across the UK.
Two-thirds of the 2,700 G users who responded, said they’d had severe problems with the drug, such as addiction, overdosing or sexual assault.
Half of the G users in their survey reported that they had passed out. 93% of them said they knew other people who had done so as well.
Over 25% of users reporting being sexually assaulted with 80% of those men said they knew someone else who’d also been assaulted on G.
Almost 50% G users have overdosed.
Hundreds of gay men are dying from a drug that no-one is talking about – it's called G.
— Channel 4 Dispatches (@C4Dispatches) September 6, 2019
In the survey, most respondents were unaware snoring could be a critical warning sign that someone is slipping into a lethal coma, with only 20% saying they’d intervene if someone was snoring heavily.
More than one in four of the G users they surveyed, said they knew of someone who had died as a result of using this drug.
Dr Owen Boden-Jones, founder of the Club Drug Clinic in London, the first in the UK to develop a way of treating G addiction.
“The one thing that’s really distinct though, about GHB, is the small difference between the amount a user takes to get the desired effect and the amount that causes an overdose.
“There are some national statistics and those national statistics show that over the last decade, the number of people who die with GHB detected in their system, is around 20 per year.
“Now; that is probably a very large underestimate and the reason for that is when there’s a death, there’s not always the toxicology done to detect to see if GHB is there.”
When Patrick put to Andrew Harris, Senior Coroner, London Inner South that the death rate from GHB could be similar to the death rate from knife crime, he responded:
“Yes, I accept that. I think this a wider matter for government and for the public. This needs looking at. I mean, certainly I wasn’t aware how big an issue or that—what the under-reporting or alleged under-reporting was a big issue,”
Sex, Drugs and Murder: Channel 4 Dispatches, Sunday 8th September, 11 pm, Channel 4
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