Q: I was hanging out with some of my buds last weekend and one of us — we call him the “party boy” — overdid it. The rest of us were drinking beer, smoking weed and doing a little bit of coke. We were happy. Then we noticed that “party boy” was gone. We found him in the bedroom. He’d pissed in his pants and puked and he was asleep. One of my friends put some ice in a washcloth and rubbed it on his face. Then we decided to just stretch him out on the bed and let him sleep it off. The next morning he was a real mess. Gotta tell you this scared me. One of the guys told me that “party boy” was using G. What do we do if this happens again? Is putting him to bed and letting him sleep it off the right thing to do?
A: Funny you should ask. This was a big question at Wednesday night’s “Tina and Gina: Killing Us Softly,” a forum moderated by West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran on meth and GHB use in the gay community.
One of the panelists was Trinka Porrata, president of Project GHB and a former LA police officer who is truly an expert on GHB. When a friend has been using GHB and shows signs of an abnormal reaction (vomiting, odd jerking movement, losing control of his bowels or urinating on himself, turning blue or drifting asleep or into coma) the last thing you should do is tuck him into bed. There’s a very real chance, Porrata said, that he won’t wake up again. At least you and your friends weren’t also partying to the extent your friend was. Porrata recounted situations in which a group of guys were high on meth or using GHB. One of them would collapse and the others would party on.
So what is the solution? Dial 911 ASAP. That often doesn’t happen, the panelists said, because partiers are worried that they’ll be arrested if cops show up and find drugs or drug paraphernalia. Porrata said that so long as the guys in the room behave themselves, the police are likely to focus their energy on getting help for the GHB victim rather finding a reason to make arrests.
If you’re planning to use GHB, both Porrata and Kathy Watt, who heads the Van Ness Recovery House in West Hollywood, said it’s vital that you let a trusted friend know, so that he can keep an eye on you. Just as some guys choose a “designated driver” to pilot the car back home after a night of bar hopping, it’s smart to designate a friend as your GHB mascot. Even smarter, of course, is to not do G at all.