An assessment of the harms of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and closely related compounds

Various authors ACMD, Anne Campbell

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

In January 2020, the Home Secretary commissioned the ACMD to review the evidence for the classification of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and related compounds under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA), and the scheduling of these compounds under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (MDR).

In February 2020, the ACMD notified the Home Secretary that they would expect to provide their initial advice by Autumn 2020 and would also provide advice on other approaches the available evidence suggests would be of value in reducing the availability, demand, and harms of GHB, GBL and closely related compounds.

The Home Secretary’s commission had been prompted by the suspected usage of GHB or a closely related compound in the criminal cases of Reynard Sinaga, and (separately) Stephen Port and Gerald Matovu.

This report reviews the evidence of harms of GHB and related compounds that have emerged since the ACMD’s last significant assessment of the risks of the GHB and its prodrugs, GBL and 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD) in 2008 (ACMD, 2008). The aim is to enable the ACMD to assess the level of harms associated with these compounds and to make recommendations to mitigate these harms – including (but not limited to) recommendations on the most appropriate classification and scheduling of these compounds under the MDA and MDR respectively.

For the purposes of this report, the closely-related compounds to be considered in addition to GHB by the ACMD in response to the Home Secretary’s commission are: GBL; 1,4-BD; gamma-hydroxyvaleric acid (GHV), and; gamma-valerolactone (GV
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages63
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2020

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