Death of 1980s Pop Star Linked to GHB Addiction

Pop legend George Michael, famed for both his solo career and as the singer in 1980s group Wham, was found dead on Christmas morning. He was found in his bed by his boyfriend Fadi Fawaz, after Fawaz had spent the night sleeping in his car. The pathologist’s initial report gave a verdict on the cause of death as ‘inconclusive’, but a former lover of the star has said that he was a regular user of GHB and that his death was almost definitely due to his GHB addiction.

Former Lover Turned Dealer

Paul Stag, who claims to have dated George Michael for nine years from 2004 to 2013, has spoken about the star’s use of GHB. The drug, also known as Liquid G, chemsex or chems, is popular among gay men. It is a central nervous system suppressant, and in low doses, it can lower inhibitions and heighten sexual enjoyment.

Stag has talked about the change in his relationship with Michael, as the superstar started to contact his former lover more frequently for supplies of the drug. Stag has several mobile phone messages from the star asking for the drug by the code name he used, ‘champagne’ or ‘champers’. Other messages held by Stag indicate that Michael was heavily reliant on GHB for sexual confidence on dates, as well as a coping mechanism when things in his life were going badly.

Stag claimed that Michael regularly messaged him for GHB and that he has ‘no doubt’ that Michael would have used GHB on Christmas Eve before he died. Stag is quoted as saying “I can’t remember any time having sex with George when he wasn’t on chems. So any pretence that he didn’t have any on Christmas Eve is ridiculous to me. He was mad on G. He loved it.”

Police are still waiting for toxicology results to confirm what, if any, drugs were in the star’s system when he died.

The Date Rape Drug

GHB, or to give it it’s chemical name, gamma hydroxybutyrate, first entered public awareness due to its link to rape cases in the 1990s. The colourless, odourless nature of the drug combined with its sedative effects made it all too easy to give to unsuspecting victims by hiding it in their drinks. The victims became confused, and in some cases unconscious, and were often unable to remember what had happened to them.

In low doses, GHB produces feelings of euphoria and a loss of inhibitions, but in higher doses, it results in confusion, disorientation, sleepiness, loss of consciousness, and potentially death. The difference in dosage between the loss of inhibitions and the loss of consciousness is very small, making overdose of the drug incredibly easy to achieve, whether by design or accident.

GHB Addiction

GHB is an addictive drug, and addiction can occur rapidly and unexpectedly. Withdrawal symptoms of GHB can include insomnia, anxiety and muscle tremors. Some addicts have also experienced abnormal heart rhythms, and episodes of delirium when they stopped using the drug. These withdrawal symptoms make relapse very common among those trying to quit GHB.

Some studies have suggested that a GHB addiction is as difficult to overcome as heroin addiction. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms is one barrier to recovery; another reason proposed for the difficulty in staying away from the drug is that most GHB users only notice the perceived positive effects of the drug. According to a Dutch study, around 45% of GHB addicts end up being rushed to hospital in a coma because of their use of the drug. But because they don’t notice being in a coma, they don’t perceive this as a negative effect of their drug use. The same study has shown that over half of those with a GHB addiction but who manage to get ‘clean’ will relapse within three months.

The Importance of Support and Assistance

With any addiction, but particularly GHB addiction, the key to successful recovery is to get the help and support that is appropriate for the situation or circumstances. Addiction Helper can put you in touch with a plethora of treatment providers that offer a range of therapies to help you on your journey to recovery. And we provide you with the continued support needed to keep addiction at bay.

If you or someone you care for are struggling with GHB addiction, then we can help. Please contact us today for any further information and to begin the path to recovering.

Sources: George Michael was addicted to chemsex drug Liquid G, claims escort (IB Times) & GHB Addiction as Hard to Treat as Heroin Dependency: Dutch Health Ministry (NY Times)

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