Athletics & GHB

The connection between GHB & bodybuilding & steroids

If you have heard of GHB, you have probably heard of it as a rape drug (predatory drug) or a party drug.  But in fact abuse of GHB started in the gym scene.  In the mid-80s when steroids were first being controlled, steroid users were seeking alternatives.  Dan Duchaine (known as The Steroid Guru) and friends heard about a study in Japan that said that taking GHB and going to sleep puts one in a deep state of sleep--the only time the body makes growth hormone--and thus will cause an increase in growth hormone production.  It does not cause an ongoing “elevation” in growth hormone, but just a tiny, temporary spike.  So it really didn’t work as anabolic.  But, for those taking steroids and pumping full of ephedrine products to stay energized, GHB served at least to produce sleep that otherwise might have been more fitful.  Having interviewed hundreds and hundreds of GHB addicts, it is apparent that at least initially GHB seemed to cause wonderful effects, increased workout results and so on.  At least initially…………..until it turns on them and destroys so much as seen in our addiction pages and as documented the book, “G’d Up 24/7.”

Many GHB users in the gym scene thought they had found God’s Gift!!    They told everyone about it and started introducing it to as many as possible, including their own parents, grandparents, etc.  One gym owner said he thought he would be taking this wonder drug for the rest of his life but only later realized that the “rest of his life” might be very near at hand, thanks to GHB. 

Ironically, while steroids are getting so much attention these days re baseball player abuse, GHB has long been in the shadows, hand in hand with steroids.  The Wikipedia (popular online casually edited resource on just about everything!) entry on Dan Duchaine mentions his connection to GHB.  It also says that he first introduced the now-banned substances clenbuterol and 2,4 dinitrophenol (DNP—a poison used in diet pills in the 30s and then banned) to bodybuilders.    Hardly something to be proud of, given the deadly though silent impact of GHB and the horrific risks of dinitrophenol (touted as a great weight-loss product for getting “ripped” before bodybuilding competition, it basically burns you alive from the inside out).   


Atheltics and GHB

The majority of GHB addicts who have come forward to Project GHB for help with addiction first learned about GHB in the gym scene.  In 2008 the number of addiction cases has been intense worldwide, with concentration on the US, Canada and the UK.  But, overall, more than 18 countries have been the source of GHB addiction help requests, from some in the party scene to casual gymgoers, worldclass bodybuilders, athletes of all degrees and TV wrestlers.  Former Mr. America Mike Scarcella died from GHB withdrawal syndrome while desperately seeking to escape its grip.  Former Mr. New Zealand Justin Rys has done his time for trafficking GHB/steroids but more importantly got beyond its grip.  Many bodybuilders seeking help have been on GHB for years and have floundered through life, losing jobs, relationships, and so on.  Real help remains hard to come by due to the ongoing lack of awareness of emergency rooms and addiction treatment centers. 

Typically GHB addicts don’t even bother to say they are addicted to GHB, knowing that “GHB” will draw a blank with most.  Typically they have also been self medicating trying to get off of it and by now are cross addicted to benzodiazepine drugs and/or alcohol, etc.  So they simply report they are addicted to Benzos or alcohol and hope that help given will be adequate.  Unfortunately, withdrawal from GHB, while closest to Benzos and alcohol, is more prolonged and the short course of treatment offered typically isn’t enough to get them through it.  They go home to more GHB and continued downfall.  Hopefully real help is becoming more available through our efforts and the work of various doctors and researchers and other groups fighting for recognition of GHB addiction and improved response.

Former Mr. America Mike Scarcella Former Mr. America Mike Scarcella and GHB
Mike Scarcella Body building and GHB



Some of the trophies won by former Mr. America Mike Scarcella were displayed at the 2007 International GHB Conference in Dallas, Texas.  Mike died from GHB withdrawal syndrome in 2003.  Our thanks to his son and family for providing the trophies for the display.