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  Liquid G, Other Designer Drugs Becoming Popular
Posted by FoM on February 09, 2000 at 07:18:01 PT
By Amanda Criner & Nicole Wagner, Daily Illini 
Source: U-WIRE 

cannabisnews.com While swallowing a pill before a night out or carrying a bottle of clear liquid to add to a drink has become more commonplace at the University of Illinois, police warn that the drugs are more dangerous than students might believe.

A few years ago, the drug Liquid G, or GHB, evoked ideas of chemicals being slipped into women's drinks at parties.

Today the drug is often taken voluntarily by students who seek the effect of several drinks in minutes.

"The whole beginning of Liquid G is just people trying new stuff," said Dee, a student who has tried Liquid G and many other drugs. "They used to just smoke pot, but now they're rolling and shrooming all the time."

Since Liquid G arrived on campus two years ago, it has evolved from a date-rape drug to a recreational drug.

"This drug is becoming a priority (for the police) because it is coming close to killing people," said Sgt. Scott Friedlein, Champaign police liquor enforcement officer. "The major difference with a person who gets drunk on Liquid G is they're fine one minute and one minute later they are fall-down drunk."

Liquid G users can easily overdose because of the drug's sudden onset.

Since spring semester began, reported incidents involving Liquid G have decreased significantly, following a familiar cycle for campus drug use. For example, fall semester might introduce a new drug to campus, the police would familiarize themselves with it, word gets out and students return after winter break with resolutions to cut down their drug use, Friedlein said. Drug use commonly rises again when the weather warms up and resolutions are forgotten.

"Word got out and the danger is known," Friedlein said. "Obviously we still have concern. Alcohol creates enough concern without drugs added."

Friedlein said he is apprehensive about the source and composition of the new drugs he sees in Campustown, including Liquid G.

"It will vary from batch to batch," he said. "It's a small, small dosage. That's where the risk comes. They're going to pour it in a cup and hope it turns out."

Liquid G is a homemade drug. Recipes found on the Internet contain common chemicals like acetone, lye and citric acid.

Batches of Liquid G vary in potency. The complicated recipes are vague about amounts and combinations of ingredients.

One of Dee's friends created his own batch of Liquid G and tried it on Dee and a few friends. Dee took nine tablespoons and passed out five minutes later.

"I was dead to the world for two hours," she said.

GHB is commonly added to alcoholic drinks.

"It seems like we've run into more and more people who are unbelievably intoxicated, but their blood alcohol level is minimal," said University Police Sgt. Skip Frost. "It's so unpredictable. I don't think people have any clue that a small amount is all you can ingest."

Liquid G, however, is dying in popularity, partly because of police concern and media coverage. Some people say Liquid G never played a large role in the campus drug scene.

"It's not really as prevalent as the media makes it out to be," said David, an engineering student who occasionally uses drugs. "They talk a lot about G, but no one ever uses it. It's not a myth. It's just rare."

X is for Ecstasy:

Just as Liquid G migrated to campus, ecstasy -- a drug that causes euphoria and heightened sensitivity -- has made its way from the Chicago club scene to the University.

Traditionally taken as a pill, ecstasy is popular in dance club settings. Friedlein and other officers look for people drinking bottled water as a clue to possible ecstasy use. Users often drink water because of the drug's dehydrating effects.

If Champaign police find ecstasy, they must send a sample to a lab in Springfield for identification. Ecstasy sometimes contains heroin or other drugs.

Possession of ecstacy is a felony charge, and users can face charges for possession if a drug is found in their body, too, Friedlein said.

Users agreed that drugs are brought to Champaign by students commuting from Chicago.

"It just got more available and there is a huge demand for it," David said. "X is taking the place of a lot of things."

Ecstasy costs about $30 for one pill, which lasts for four to six hours, some users said. The cost alone forces most users to take ecstasy less frequently.

"People like to make a night out of it," David said of ecstasy users. "If it weren't expensive it would be an epidemic."

New Drugs, Old Drugs:

Users say drugs like DXM -- a chemical found in cough suppressants -- and Ketamine remain on the fringe of campus drug culture.

Police said these drugs have not caused the same stir as Liquid G, but they want to stay familiar with new drugs.

Ketamine, or Special K, has not become a prevalent problem at the University, but police keep a close eye on the drug.

"Basically, it's a large animal tranquilizer," Frost said. "Why anyone in the world would want to ingest it is beyond me."

Marijuana, however, remains a popular drug on campus. Although new drugs have entered the spotlight, plenty of students still smoke pot.

"Marijuana is still the illegal drug of choice," Frost said. "GHB? Yeah, it's here. Yes, we've heard plenty about ecstasy and the rave scene."

Consequences?

Friedlein is concerned that party drug users ignore the drugs' consequences.

University students are the focal point of Friedlein's concern. He is surprised that University students choose to ingest such powerful chemicals just for a good time.

"We have otherwise intelligent students risking everything they've got for X or Liquid G," he said. "Why?"

Scott, a University student, said he uses drugs for entertainment. His friends' favorite expression is "drugs are fun." They are not concerned with the legal and medical consequences of their behavior.

Scott plans to quit smoking marijuana and experimenting with other drugs before he enters law school. For now, he sees drugs as a part of college life.

"It's college and you're supposed to have fun," he said. "It's kind of expected that you get at least drunk every once in a while."

Despite seeing people burn out on drugs like marijuana and cocaine, Dee continues to use drugs recreationally.

"I know it's one of those things that has to stop eventually," she said. "It's fun, and all my friends do it. It's kind of like a hobby -- I do it with my spare time and my spare money."

Although having drugs in your system can count as possession, many students on campus are not deterred by the threat of drug charges.

"Our biggest concern in these cases is not the person with the drug -- we want to know the source of the stuff," Friedlein said. "That's where the problem is."

Scott said he believes he would receive an underage drinking ticket before ever finding himself in trouble for using drugs.

Both Dee and Scott are not fazed by the threat of arrest because they do not deal drugs.

"I make sure I wouldn't get caught," Dee said. "There's no reason for them to come looking for me."

Just as ecstasy and Liquid G migrated into the party culture of campus, new drugs come and go.

Students who use drugs are not likely to stop, despite the efforts of Friedlein, the University and medical experts who try to make them see the danger in their behavior.

"I think that people do drugs and realize that nothing bad really happens," David said. "Then there's no reason not to."

(U-WIRE) CHAMPAIGN, Ill.
Updated 12:00 PM ET February 8, 2000
(C) 2000 Daily Illini via U-WIRE

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Comment #1 posted by concerned on September 16, 2000 at 19:40:57 PT
liquid G
I'm from a small town in Alabama and liquid G has become prevalent in our high schools. I didn't realize this until my 18 year old nephew almost died from an overdose of it that he ingested while at his high school pep rally. These kids have no idea what they are putting into their bodies or its effects. They are just in it for the new experience or the "high". My fear is that, even though this was a near death experience for my nephew and was witnessed by the majority of his friends and the entire student body, this didn't scare everyone out of trying it themselves. I'm only 10 years older than these kids and I'm already out of touch on what reaches them or what will make them stop and listen. I think part of the problem with this drug is that it is a liquid. People seem to be more afraid of taking too many pills whereas this is something that is probably not a measured dose when its ingested. I would like to see this drug disappear, but I fear its going to take more than one severe or fatal incidence before its effects deserve the respect that it demands. I would like to see criminal charges placed on the suppliers/dealers and even the users of this drug so that they can seek the help that this problem demands. I do have one question about this drug. Is it considered to be a physically or mentally addictive drug?? Any suggestions on how to help resolve this problem I would greatly appreciate?

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