February 18, 2020

Practising harm reduction when taking G: how Harry does it

Harm reduction and drug use is all about educating yourself and practising strategies to reduce or minimise the risks involved in taking drugs. Sometimes this can feel pretty clinical and scientific but it’s actually something that can be easy to do, and involves strategies adopted by lots of people. We spoke to Harry* about his experiences around using G and how he minimises his risks.

This article represents a personal experience of using GHB and offers a personal perspective on GHB and harm reduction. If you are using GHB be mindful that you may experience harms, read more about avoiding the drop zone.

Pivot Point: Hey Harry! First of all, tell us about why and when you would take GHB?

H: I usually use G when I am out partying. For example, I might have walked into the Mardi Gras after party, and we’re just about to take some G. G lowers your inhibition, and it works very rapidly, so it helps you get into the mood very quickly, like a party mood.

My friends and I take it when we’re not planning on buying any drinks at that point in time, and I make sure that I’m sober at that point to be able to take down the time that I’ve taken the first dose of G so I know when I can re-dose later. But usually at a party, walking into an after party or a dance party, the first thing I’d do would probably be go and take G.


PP: How do you plan for a night or occasion on G?

H: Firstly, I guess I know my drug/drug interactions, so I wouldn’t be mixing it with alcohol, I wouldn’t be mixing it with any benzos and that sort of stuff, so I’ve already planned what I’m going to take for that evening. Mixing G with other depressants increases your chances of a G drop.

When I do take G at a party, I always take a premeasured dose. I would write down the time that I take them, and I would make sure that I would not dose again for at least two hours after the first dose.


PP: What sorts of reactions do you hope to have when you take G?

H: The lowered inhibition, the feeling of being drunk, but not having drunk anything, that’s essentially what it makes you feel like, and that’s about it: lowered inhibitions, the feeling of being drunk, feeling happy, excited, and energised a little.


PP: And what sorts of reactions do you hope to avoid, and what do you do if you feel them coming on?

H: If I feel that I’m sort of falling asleep, or my eyes are closing, or I’m keeping my eyes closed, or I’m sweating really a lot, I know it’s probably about time to take some water, or just chill out for a little with a friend and let them know how I am feeling.

If I was to give some advice, to you as an individual, noticing if you’re sweating a lot, or if you’re starting to feel a bit dazed, confused, incoherent, probably those are my key warning or triggers toward being like, you know, time to chill out, have some water, walk outside, get some fresh air with a friend.

Have some water, chill out with a friend, take a seat or whatever, but being sure to be conscious. The important thing is that you have a friend that can monitor you and just note if you’re dozing off or sleeping.


PP: What do you to do to prevent any of these reactions?

H: One thing with G is that whilst it feels good, it has a very quick onset of negative symptoms if you take too much. And so, if I for example took even a tiny bit more than what I’m used to, I’d find myself very quickly becoming incoherent and overdosing. So, to avoid becoming incoherent and to be in control and enjoy the drug responsibly, that’s why I use all of these little rules that I have around my doses, and not mixing my drugs, to make sure that I basically don’t become incoherent.


PP: What do you do to look after yourself after you’ve had G?

H: I would probably have water next to me, next to my bed, and have water before I go to bed, and I would make sure that I eat something, even if it’s a small thing. And that’s about all I do.


If you’re planning on heading to Mardi Gras this year, keep your eye out for the ACON Rovers and the Mardi Gras Medical team. We’re there to help you have a good time. 

*Names have been changed.