As part of our November 2020 blog, Should GHB be Reclassified to Class B? – White Ribbon (, we discussed concerns regarding the increasing consumption of GHBRS (GHB and closely related compounds) with ‘Chemsex’, as well as various crimes of spiking, rape, theft, and murder.  At that time GHB was classified as a Class C drug, alongside Anabolic Steroids, but calls for reclassification to Class B were being voiced nationally.

What Action Has Been Taken?

On 13th of April 2022, GHB, GBL, and closely related compounds – GHBRS were all reclassified as Class B drugs.  GBL and 1,4-BD were also placed under schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, so industrial users now need a controlled drugs license if using these substances.

Whilst these legislative moves are a step forward in the control of these substances and reducing the potential harm they can cause, there is still more work to be done.

What more can be done?

We raised previously raised concerns that the number of deaths reported relating to GHBRS are not a true reflection of actual deaths linked to these substances. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) made a recommendation in their report that a toxicology test and screening for these substances should be made compulsory, in all sudden death cases.

Toxicology Tests

So what does this mean, what is the relevance of this statement? Toxicology tests in unexplained sudden death cases are undertaken by coroners, who are independent in the discharge of their statutory functions.  Coroners are also funded by individual local authorities.  The decision to undertake toxicology examinations is taken on a case-by-case basis.

Moving forward… The Home Office has liaised with the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Chief Coroner, with the aim of making toxicology examinations for GHB, GLB and related compounds, appropriate practice in all sudden deaths. If, for any reason this toxicology examination cannot take place then the Home Office has asked for procedures to include clear recordings on the report that GHBRS were not tested for.

Reliable Information

Further ACMD recommendations about GHB, are around providing up-to-date and reliable information that focus on the physical, mental and social harms of GHBRS use.  This includes sexual harm and the issue of consent in ‘Chemsex’ settings. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 states that ‘it is an offence to administer a substance, like GHB and GBL, to a person with intent to overpower that person to enable sexual activity with them. This is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.’

As an organisation, we will continue to raise awareness of the harmful effects of GHB, GLB, and other related compounds. Our campaign topics and resources include ‘Safe Night Out’ and ‘Drug Awareness’, with our relevant health stands available to hire within the West Midlands area for a small charge. Health Stands – White Ribbon (