Journal of Forensic Toxicology & PharmacologyISSN: 2325-9841

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Early Career in Drug Abuse with Preference for γ-Hydroxybutyrate Resulted in a Mixed Drug Overdose Death

 Early Career in Drug Abuse with Preference for γ-Hydroxybutyrate Resulted in a Mixed Drug Overdose Death

The recreational drug of abuse γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a depressant of the central nervous system (CNS) and is often encountered in blood and urine analysed during forensic case-work. Here we report the results of toxicological analysis of blood or urine from a person arrested for abuse of illicit drugs on 28 occasions over 13 years. GHB was identified on 21 occasions, either in blood (6 times) or urine (15 times). Another popular drug of abuse was amphetamine, which was identified 15 times. The man died from a mixed-drug overdose at the age of 29 years and post-mortem toxicology showed GHB concentrations of 200 mg/L in femoral blood and 4700 mg/L in urine. The much higher concentration of GHB in urine indicates that the concentrations in blood (and brain) were much higher than 200 mg/L during the ante-mortem period, owing to GHB’s short plasma elimination half-life of 30-60 min. An early intervention and treatment for substance abuse might have been more beneficial than conventional sanctions and penalties for petty drug offences.

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