A couple of weeks ago we looked at the changing GHB market and the fact that many of the substances being sold as GHB are actually other products, most usually GBL.

Another substance likely to be sold as GHB is 1,4-B (1 4-Butanediol). GBL is a lactone-based industrial solvent that is converted into GHB in the bloodstream, and 1,4-B is alcohol-based, converted in the bloodstream first into GBL and then GHB.

The reason these are being used is believed to be mainly the legal status of the different substances, i.e. the law is slightly different for the various products and as a result suppliers/ dealers of G believe it is much safer for them to sell GBL and 1,4-B rather than GHB.

Well, where does the law stand on these substances? Every drug user should know the legal consequences of using their drug of choice.

p>Ignorance of the law is no defence and if you’re going to make the decision to use an illegal drug you should be well aware of all the consequences, including what may happen to you if you get caught in possession of the drug.

Firstly, 4-Hydroxybutanoic acid (GHB) is defined as a prohibited drug according to Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, 1985 (DMTA). This means that possession/ supply and other offences in the DMTA relating to prohibited drugs apply to GHB.

Essentially this means if you get caught with true GHB you will be treated the same as if you got caught with other Schedule 1 drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.

Gamma butrolactone (GBL) is defined as a precursor, according to the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Regulation, 2000. This means that section 24 A of the DMTA re possession of precursors applies to GBL, so if a person was convicted of this offence, they could receive a gaol term of up to 10 years, or a fine of 2,000 penalty units.

The drug 1 4-Butanediol (1,4-B) is not currently listed as a precursor in the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Regulation, 2000, or as a prohibited drug under the DMTA.

If the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Amendment Bill 2005 is passed in its current form (it has been passed by the Legislative Assembly but not yet by the Legislative Council), both GBL and 1,4-B will also become prohibited drugs, so all the possession/ supply and other offences relating to prohibited drugs will apply to them..

Realistically, it is almost impossible to distinguish one liquid from the others by sight, smell or taste, although there are some differences. True GHB is said to have a much more salty taste, whereas the other two products are much more solvent-like, leaving a stronger after-taste.

Whatever the product, it is important to remember that there are very real legal consequences for using both GHB and GBL and it looks as though the legal loophole for 1,4B will be closed shortly.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?/p>

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