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Arlington Teen Warns Others About Potent Party Drug
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Andy DuBois figured the tasteless, clear liquid in the shot glass he was handed at a party was merely vodka.

"The next thing I knew, I woke up in a hospital with tubes coming from everywhere, and I couldn't talk," the 17-year-old said.

Andy and three other youths were admitted to area hospitals last Friday after ingesting GHB, also known as "liquid ecstasy" and "soap." It produces a high for just $10 a vial, but it's also potentially deadly when mixed with alcohol. "I don't think this should be a secret," said Andy's mother, Marcia DuBois. "I think the public needs to know this drug is out there, and maybe, we can save somebody's life."

The drug is no secret to police, doctors and club regulars. Dozens of people have ended up in Dallas-Fort Worth area hospitals in recent months because of complications from GHB and other "party drugs," doctors say. "I would tell anyone to stay away from this stuff, not to try it even in small doses," Andy said.

Andy thought he was merely mixing vodka and Coca-Cola, he said, but realized after waking up at Arlington Memorial Hospital that it must have been GHB. During an interview with the Arlington Morning News shortly after his release Saturday, his father, Paul, interrupted to ask why teens were drinking at the party. Andy, still weak from the ordeal, ignored him.

"This drug really scrambles your brains," Andy said. "I gotta talk while I can remember what I want to say."

GHB is part of a genre of "party drugs" popular at nightclubs and used by teens from middle- and upper-class neighborhoods, an Dallas hospital official said. "This is not used by down-and-outers or heroin addicts," said Dr. Christopher Keyes, medical director of the North Texas Poison Center at Presbyterian Hospital. "This is for the partygoers and club hoppers."

GHB, short for gammahydroxybutryrate, is an odorless liquid that inhibits the respiratory system, according to medical experts. Other drugs in use by some club-goers include Ritalin, which is often prescribed for children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Some youngsters reportedly crush the pills into a powder, which they snort.

"The kids tell me that it speeds them up and makes them feel like they can drink more," said Steve Spring, a drug counselor in Grand Haven, Mich. "Their hearts beat faster, they're up and hyper and they like that."

Sleep-aid Rohypnol has been dubbed the "rape pill" because it has been used as a powerful mickey by men looking to rob unsuspecting women of their inhibitions and lure them into sex. The depressant is also known as the "forget pill."

"Herbal ecstasy" is a stimulant sold legally at record stores, clubs and head shops. Listed as a food additive, the stimulant becomes harmful if used steadily.