When G first came onto the scene in the late 1990s most users could be pretty confident that what they were purchasing was truly GHB or gamma-hydroxybutyrate. The scene has changed dramatically since that time and now it is rare to find GHB -“ the limited information we have suggests that most of the G on the street is actually GBL.

This is believed to be mainly due to the legal status of the drug, i.e. if you get caught in possession of, or supplying GHB, it is regarded by the law in the same way as heroin.

However, GBL or gamma-butyrolactone is an important solvent used in industry and is classified as a precursor chemical, still illegal but suppliers believe it will not carry the same legal consequences if they are caught with it. For suppliers/ dealers of G this has meant that they believe it is much safer for them to sell GBL rather than GHB.

GBL is an organic oily liquid that is used as a solvent for polyacrylonitrile (used in making carbon fibres in the manufacture of sails and tents) and cellulose acetate (used to make textiles and fibres), among others.

It can be used in the production of pesticides, herbicides and plant growth regulators. GBL is also a constituent of paint removers, textile oils and drilling oils. Once ingested, GBL is converted into GHB. However, GBL is metabolised differently and can take a little longer to come on.

We have had anecdotal reports that users have found that their G has dissolved the plastic containers it has been kept in. This should not happen if you have -˜true’ GHB and is an indication that you most probably are being sold another substance -“ most probably GBL. GBL will essentially dissolve most plastics, with the possible exception of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is often used for eye drops and contact lens solutions.

It won’t necessarily eat through the plastic straight away, although totally clear plastics do appear to dissolve much faster, which explains how the fish soy sauce containers can last for as long as they do.

Drop GBL onto a plastic surface and leave it there for a short time and it will be affected. Let it leak on your vinyl pants (what are you doing wearing vinyl pants anyway?) and they will be eaten away. So if it is doing this to your kitchen surfaces and clothing, what will it do to your insides?

Unfortunately, it is still unclear what the health implications are of ingesting GBL on a regular basis. We do know that GBL is a strong mucous membrane irritant as well as a mild skin irritant.

GBL can penetrate the epidermis and may cause rashes or eczema. In the past G users were swallowing GHB and, although that is hardly a healthy practice, GBL does appear to be far more problematic.

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>

© Star Observer 2018 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.