GHB, GBL & Chem Sex

What is GHB & GBL?

GHB: Gamma Hydroxybutyrate & GBL is Gamma Butyrolactone. Both are central nervous system depressants, meaning they slow your heartrate and breathing. (See our other article for more details about GHB also!)

  • GHB is occasionally prescribed for patients struggling with narcolepsy; under the brand name of Xyrem.
  • GBL is a precursor to GHB, meaning when GBL is consumed it is turned into GHB in the body, effectively making the substances very similar when consumed. GBL is a chemical solvent used in industries to produce other chemicals.
  • GHB is commonly bought and sold in vials and bottles, and is made by mixing GBL with sodium hydroxide, or potassium hydroxide.
  • GHB is consumed orally, often times mixed in a soft drink.
  • Both GHB and GBL are clear, oily liquids.
    • GHB tastes slightly salty and bitter, and is typically odorless or has a mild salty odor, while GBL has a very strong chemical scent & taste.

GHB chemical structure

Effects may include:

  • Euphoria, nausea, blacking out or ‘G-ing out’, increased sex drive, dizziness, disinhibition, altered mood, clumsiness, altered perception of time, sleepiness, sweating, memory loss, auditory and visual hallucinations and confusion. GHB takes about 20-60 minutes to kick in, and lasts up to 2.5 hours, with after effects lasting up to 4 hours.

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Alcohol and Cannabis use in the time of COVID-19 

With the stay at home order, social isolation, prolonged stress and employment loss- it is no surprise that substance use may be more prevalent during this time. We’ll cover some of the data that was collected by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) in the earlier months of the pandemic. The CCSA asked over 1000 respondents during April of 2020, about their alcohol and cannabis use habits/rates.

Rates of, and demographics of use: 

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Nutmeg Challenge, Cheap Thrills or Vibe Kills

nutmeg

History/Intro

For centuries nutmeg has been used as a psychoactive drug, falling in and out of popularity. It is often selected because it is cheap and easy to come by, (there might be some in your kitchen spice rack right now). Nutmeg is sometimes used to ease symptoms when experiencing opiate/ opioid withdrawal.

Since the 12th century people have used nutmeg as both a drug with medicinal properties and a seasoning. French astrologer, Nostradamus, was said to have induced his prophetic visions by ingesting large quantities of nutmeg. Malcom X is even quoted noting “a penny matchbox full of nutmeg had the kick of three or four reefers,” in his autobiography.

A drug with such a rich history is sure to peak some people’s interest and curiosities, especially being so cheap and easy to access. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the dangers and risk of harm when ingesting nutmeg in high quantities. Currently there is a recurring “Nutmeg Challenges” trend on social media sites like Facebook and TikTok where people (especially teens and young adults) are filming themselves after consuming 2-4 tablespoons of nutmeg.

Safety/Dosing

Light to moderate doses for ground nutmeg range from 5-20g, (roughly 1-5 teaspoons), with strong doses being from 20-30g, (roughly 5-7 teaspoons).

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Boofing Safety

Boofing, also known as  “hooping”*, “booty-bumping”, “butt-chugging”, “shelving”, “stuffing”, “plugging” or “alcohol enemas”, is when you put alcohol or another drug into your rectum. These terms will change depending on who you’re with, or where you’re using. For example, the terms ‘hooping’ or ‘hoopers’ is also used in party scenes to refer to the act of hula hooping or the people who hula hoop. In some places “boofing” is slang for smoking weed. Make sure that everyone is on the same page to avoid embarrassing mix ups!

How does it work?
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Edibles

Cannabis edibles have been made and enjoyed by many people for many years. Since legalization of cannabis, weed infused edibles are becoming increasingly more common. However, supply of legal edibles is limited, and the dosage may be lower than some users would want. With the black market options vast in dosage and flavours, some users turn to black market brands or homemade. Black market or homemade edibles are unregulated though. A study of edibles across Canada showed that products contained 1/5th to ½ of the THC labeled on the package. What can make edibles even more unpredictable is the number of servings in each edible product (such as a brownie or gummy bear) can change from product to product. Here are some tips on how you can be safe and have fun while ingesting edibles.

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Getting High on Booze

Do you like to drink? Do you drink to get drunk? Sometimes it’s easy to forget that alcohol is a drug, and drinking is a form of getting high. Most conversations about drug use encourage users to keep dosage in mind, and to think about the timeline of a specific drug. For example, if you take MDMA, you know you’ll be high for around 4-6 hours, and if you choose to do more during that time you will be high for a longer period of time.

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House Party Harm Reduction

Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection. Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection. Made available to media outlets via Creative Commons. No derivatives, no commercial use. See guidelines here: broadlygenderphotos.vice.com/guidelines

With many of Toronto’s beloved venues shutting down, more and more youth are partying at home. And why not? A house party can be a safer space for folks to use drugs, be silly, hang out with friends and make it a night to remember. House parties also give you the power to make the rules about what goes and what doesn’t. Whether you’re partying or hosting, we can all have a blast by using some simple harm reduction tips:

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Harm Reduction New Years Resolutions

The first days of the new year are often not kind to us party people. After going hard for hours on end to celebrate, reflecting on your use while nursing your hangover makes a lot of sense! Hopefully you were able to sneak some harm reduction strategies into your holiday partying by drinking water, not sharing straws or other drug use supplies and finding safe rides homes in the wee hours of 2019. It might be tempting to make a long list of all your resolutions for the new year but not so fast! That same philosophy that nudged you to party safer can also help you set realistic goals for your substance use.

A drug user’s guide to harm reduction new years resolutions

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Drug Checking & Testing Kits

Toronto Drug Checking Project

Toronto has a highly sophisticated drug checking project!

What is Toronto’s drug checking service?

People who use drugs in Toronto have long advocated for access to drug checking in an effort to reduce the harms associated with using drugs from the unregulated supply.

Launched in October 2019, Toronto’s drug checking service offers people who use drugs timely and detailed information on the contents of their drugs, helping them to make more informed decisions.

This drug checking service also helps to uncover the makeup of Toronto’s unregulated drug supply, which includes illegal drugs, as well as legal drugs diverted from regulated markets for sale through criminal channels. Information on Toronto’s unregulated drug supply is made publicly available.

How do I get my drugs checked?

Toronto’s drug checking service is free, anonymous, and available to everyone. Accepted samples include a substance (approximately 10mg of a powder or pill, blotter, or a small amount of liquid) and paraphernalia after it’s been used (a used cooker or filter, or leftover liquid from a syringe).

Samples are collected at five harm reduction agencies in Toronto where supervised consumption services are also offered:

Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (Queen West site) – Bathurst and Queen (Trip! HQ)
South Riverdale Community Health Centre – Carlaw and Queen
The Works at Toronto Public Health – Yonge and Dundas
Moss Park Consumption and Treatment Service – Sherbourne and Queen
Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (Parkdale site) – Dufferin and Queen

Results are available within a business day or two and are communicated to clients by harm reduction staff in person or by phone. Along with these results, clients receive tailored harm reduction supports, guidance, and referral to services (e.g., supervised consumption, naloxone training, primary health care).

How does Toronto’s drug checking service work?

Samples are transported from the harm reduction agencies where they are collected to a nearby laboratory at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health or St. Michael’s Hospital to be analyzed.

Toronto’s drug checking service uses mass spectrometry technologies (gas- and liquid-chromatography). These sophisticated lab-based technologies offer detailed information about which drugs are found in each sample, along with some information about how much of each drug is present.

Toronto’s drug checking service is one of a few pilot projects that received funding from Health Canada to prevent overdose. This service operates by way of exemptions from the Government of Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

This drug checking service is being scientifically evaluated to understand its impacts on the health and well-being of people who use drugs in Toronto.

Who funds Toronto’s drug checking service?

Toronto’s drug checking service receives financial support from the Government of Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program and the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation.

Which partners and collaborators are involved in Toronto’s drug checking service?

Toronto’s drug checking service relies on a community advisory board of ten people who use drugs in Toronto who meet monthly to consult on its design and execution.

This drug checking service partners and collaborates with a range of community members and organizations, clinicians, researchers, policymakers, and others, including:

British Columbia Centre of Substance Use
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Service
Moss Park Consumption and Treatment Service
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario
Ontario Harm Reduction Network
Ontario Poison Centre
Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
Public Health Ontario
Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
South Riverdale Community Health Centre
Michael’s Hospital
Street Health
The Works at Toronto Public Health
Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance
Toronto Paramedic Services
Toronto Public Health
Trip! Project

We acknowledge the members of our community advisory board, our partner organizations, and the people of Toronto that have lost their lives because of overdose.

More info here!

Testing Kits – Drug Checking

Testing kits can help you identify what a substance is so you can decide how or if you want to take it. When getting drugs from someone or the internet you can’t be 100% sure what it really is, even if it’s from a friend. You can use a testing kit to get more info! Continue reading