Prevalence and correlates of GHB use among adults in the United States

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) was a somewhat prevalent club drug two decades ago, but research has been lacking regarding the current epidemiology of use. In this study, prevalence and correlates of past-year GHB use were estimated based on noninstitutionalized US adults participating in the 2015-2020 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (N= 241,675). An estimated 0.05% (95% CI: 0.04-0.07) of adults in the US have used GHB in the past year. Compared to those age 18-25, those age 35-49 were at increased odds for use (aOR = 2.28, 95% CI: 1.02-5.10), and compared to heterosexual men, gay men in particular were at high odds for use (aOR = 27.82, 95% CI: 11.09-69.80). Those identifying as bisexual men (aOR = 3.39, 95% CI: 1.17-9.82) and lesbian/bisexual women (aOR = 3.37, 95% CI: 1.44-7.90) were also at high odds for use. Despite all drugs examined being significant correlates of use in bivariable models (ps < .001), only past-year use of methamphetamine (aOR = 15.68, 95% CI: 7.40-33.25), ketamine (aOR = 8.52, 95% CI: 2.67-27.20), and ecstasy (aOR = 4.41, 95% CI: 1.80-10.75) was associated with increased odds of use in the multivariable model. Results suggest that GHB use is currently rare, but gay men and people who use other party drugs are at particularly high risk for use.

Full citation:
Palamar JJ (2022).
Prevalence and correlates of GHB use among adults in the United States
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs [Epub 2022 May 26]. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2022.2081948.