Words: Jamie Wareham
Attackers are putting chemsex drugs in lube to ‘date-rape’ their victims, according to a new Buzzfeed News and Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.
In the largest-ever study of GHB users, a new survey suggests 1 in 4 who take the drug have been sexually assaulted. Of those, 4 in 5 know someone else who has also been assaulted.
The shocking figures show the scale of ‘G’, as its colloquially known, within the gay and bi male community. Of those surveyed, over half of those who use the drug say they overdose.
The survey also details how one in five are unaware that snoring heavily was a critical warning sign that someone who has taken the drug could be slipping into a lethal coma.
Stephen Morris, Chemsex and Crime lead at the HM Prison and Probation Service told the documentary about some of the shocking tactics some attackers are using, including spiking lube with chemsex drugs.
Morris has been warning about how attackers have been planning, grooming and commissioning offences at chillouts and in chemsex environments using the dark web since he took on his role several years ago.
“The method can be carried out covertly enabling a victim to be rendered unconscious for the purpose of rape by one or many other men.”
But Morris explains to Attitude how the ‘sinister’ tactic can also be lethal:
“The amount of GHB, when administered in a lubricant, makes it impossible for anyone other than the perpetrator to know the amount, which could have lethal and therefore murderous consequences.”
Charity Terrence Higgins Trust partnered with Buzzfeed and Channel 4 on the survey of GHB users.
THT spokesperson Greg Owen spoke about the need for more harm reduction work to be done around the use of ‘G.’
“The statistics around sexual assault and the unknown number of deaths potentially attributed to G use are hugely worrying,” Owen tells Attitude.
“The results from the survey show that harm reduction is really, really important.”
The charity recently launched their Friday / Monday website which offers support for gay and bisexual men around sex and drugs.
Presenter of the documentary, Buzzfeed LGBT editor Patrick Strudwick tells us the survey results are overwhelming. But, he hopes the show will spark new conversations about the prevalence of ‘G’ use in the gay and bi community:
“I sincerely hope that this film will alert the government, the police, coroners, and the NHS to the harm being done by G. There is currently a total absence of response, public health campaigning data, and awareness.
“This is leading to people dying, and to people who have been raped and sexually assaulted not reporting it for fear of being investigated for drugs offences.
“G needs to be added to all routine toxicology screens so we know once and for all the total number of people it is killing.”
Strudwick also spoke to a straight woman in the documentary who asked for her identity to be hidden, showing the use of the drug ‘G’ to ‘enhance’ sexual experiences is not just an issue for the LGBTQ community.
The documentary airs on Channel 4, September 8th at 11pm.