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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Aug 1;131(3):316-9. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.12.023. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Sociodemographic and substance use characteristics of γ hydroxybutyrate (GHB) dependent inpatients and associations with dependence severity.

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Drug Monitoring, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



The number of admissions to addiction treatment centers in the Netherlands for gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) dependence is rapidly growing. Until now, treatment seeking GHB users have hardly been studied. This study characterizes inpatients in treatment for GHB dependence in terms of sociodemographics, motives for substance use and reasons for seeking treatment. In addition, variables associated with dependence severity are identified.


Patients were recruited by their therapists at 4 different addiction treatment centers dispersed throughout the Netherlands. They were asked to fill out the questionnaire, including sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, GHB and other drug use, and a modified version of the Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT) to screen for GHB dependence. The associations of relevant variables with dependence severity were determined using multiple regression analysis.


A total of 75 inpatients (response rate 90.4%) participated in the study. Most patients were young (mean 26.8 ± 9.1) males (73%) with low education (78%) and not employed (48%). Most of them (75%) had started using GHB the year before treatment admission, 42 (56%) frequently combined GHB with sedatives and 26 (35%) frequently combined GHB with stimulants. Dependence severity was strongly associated with sleep problems and the combined use of GHB and stimulants.


This study shows that sociodemographic characteristics of GHB inpatients are similar to those of problematic users of other club drugs. Sleep problems and combined use of GHB and stimulants were strongly associated with GHB dependence. Together, these factors might help to better identify people at risk for GHB dependence.


Combined use; DUDIT; Dependence severity; GHB; Gamma hydroxybutyrate; Sleep problems; Stimulants

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