Photo by Nadja Brenneisen
You have to be pretty sick to take GHB voluntarily—the dosage is very hard to get right. Even sicker people use the anaesthetic in order to drug women and then rape them.
In the last 18 months, I have been unknowingly given GHB three times in doses that knocked me out. Here's what I learned from each horrific experience:
LESSON ONE: DON'T LEAVE YOUR DRINK UNATTENDED
Alternatively, keep the lid of your next Starbucks Frappuccino and convert it into a drink shield.
The first time I was drugged was at Kanzlei—a club in Zurich I would have never gone to out of my own free will. But birthday girls get to pick the bar, and it was not my birthday. After walking around the club for a bit, I decided that the bar area seemed to be the place where I would most likely have a good time so I set up camp there. During a visit to the toilet, someone must have added an extra secret ingredient to my drink.
I came back, emptied my glass, and decided I fancied a dance. I felt good. The dots of light on the floor were brighter than before and flickered. I danced with them, in them and suddenly felt violently sick. I ran to the bathroom and collapsed in a cubicle. Which was actually the stroke of luck that kept me from getting raped.
LESSON TWO: NO MATTER HOW GREAT A GUY SEEMS, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DRINK FROM HIS GLASS
I met the guy at a party—he seemed OK. But I wasn't immediately convinced, so we went on a few dates. I wanted to give him a chance to convince me he was at the very least a worthwhile one-night stand. Needless to say, he fucked that up.
One night we were drinking white wine at his apartment. It tasted weirdly salty, but we were eating salty snacks, so I didn't think twice about it. A napkin fell on the floor and I made a move to pick it up but somehow I couldn’t. My head was completely clear, but I had no control over my body. I tried to speak but my tongue was too heavy. It was as if a glass ball had enveloped me and muffled every sound I made. I recognized the feeling immediately—the same as in Kanzlei. And suddenly a penis was dangling in front of my nose.
I also knew that very soon, my nose would be hitting the floor. Still, my body wouldn't do as it was told. It's amazing what your brain can do in an emergency. Mine saved me. I pulled myself together as best I could, ordering my brain to make my legs work at once. Somehow, I made it to the bathroom.
Inside, I immediately shut the door and turned the key. The tiles were hard, splitting my head open and giving me a concussion. The next day, I added the psychic low and the temporary loss of faith in the whole of humanity to the damages.
LESSON THREE: KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
Last Halloween, my best friend threw a party at her house. A poorly dressed Spiderman put a drink in my hand, which I shared with another friend. A little while later, people decided to move the party on to a club.
I’m normally a calm and collected person but by this point I was bizarrely aggressive. On the way to the club, I made out with a gay guy so violently that afterwards my mouth hurt.
My memories from the night are like watching a film in a crumbling time lapse—frames stopping and starting to move again, sometimes fast and then suddenly extremely slowly.
I was standing on a street and a shopping trolley appeared from somewhere. I put it in the middle of the road, which was less than helpful for the guy passing by in a car. When he pointed this out, I went at him, both verbally and with the odd kick against the car. Later, I was either thrown out of the club or decided to leave myself—I don’t remember. I have no recollection of anything that happened after my argument with the driver.
Fourteen hours later, I came to at home. Apparently my roommate had picked me up from the street behind the club and brought me back. I pieced together the puzzle of the night before: Turns out that, somehow in my intoxicated state, I had recognized the effects of GHB so I made sure there were people with me at all times during the night.
I felt really fucking sick. My heart hammered at my ribcage and I was terrified that my head was going to explode. Nausea would be a gross understatement when describing the intensity with which I vomited. That day I couldn’t even drink a glass of water, while the next three days were spent in depression.
And then my friend with whom I had shared that fateful drink was on my doorstep. She had the same vile headache and was missing memories from the evening. She said that as she staggered to the toilet half-conscious that morning, Spiderman had crept out of her bed and the flat.
The cruel thing is that you can’t protect yourself. Knowing how GHB works and tastes has saved my ass since then, but I had to be drugged three times to get there.
Don't let that happen to you; Trust no one and shield your drink. If they do get you, go to the hospital as soon as you realize what happened. A bit of intravenous rehydratration and medication can go a long way when the fear of dying makes you wanna kill yourself.