YOUNG professionals looking for a cheap high have been caught out by the addictive and dangerous drug GBL, one expert said.
Dr James Bell, of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, said he focused on the drug as colleagues faced a wave of victims.
He said Gamma Butryolactone (GBL) was first popular among gay clubbers, who dubbed it charisma because it made them outgoing and boosted their sex drive.
But it soon spread to other young people looking for an extremely cheap, and at one point legal, high.
Dr Bell said many users did not realise a small overdose could leave them fighting for their lives in intensive care.
Others were caught out because it is highly addictive and left them facing terrible withdrawal symptoms.
A typical dose of the drug is 1ml, but 2ml is enough to make many people fall asleep and higher quantities can kill. Dr Bell said the impact of GBL dependence was "chilling" and many doctors did not realise what they were facing when victims turned up at hospital.