“Everyone has done some drugs in their time, but most aren’t as dangerous as GHB,” says Dickey Heerkens. He is the organizer of the Fuxxx parties in the center of Amsterdam since early 2012. Heerkens was alarmed by the high number of people using GHB. Already, several people have died because of it.
The colorless substance is often smuggled into clubs and bars in little bottles. The user mostly becomes inert, but can also become very aggressive. When the dosage is too high, people quickly swoon. And their memory will be erased. Using too much of it is all too easy, especially in poorly lit bars and under the influence of alcohol or other narcotics.
“To ensure that people who went out will take lessons from their past experience, we always try to make a video about a person’s behavior. This way, they can see for themselves that they passed out and stayed unconscious for some time. So far, it doesn’t seem to have any effect,” says Richard Keldoulis, owner of Club Church.
Heerkens and Keldoulis do not only stress the danger to the user, but also to the Amsterdam club scene in general. Heerkens: “If someone wakes up in an ambulance, he can get up and continue partying. We will be visited by the police and can be prosecuted when someone uses GHB at our parties.” When a club has too many incidents recorded, there is a danger of forced closure. “What people do to their own body is their business, but this way, the clubbing scene will be destroyed from within.”
Both organizers have arranged staff training on how to deal with GHB abuse. Security has also been improved, although it is not their intention to limit freedom. It is a balancing act. Keldoulis: “But this is our limit: GHB is dangerous. A danger to yourself, to others, and to the club or bar you are using it in. If you have to use it, use it at home.”