GHB is often called a "date rape" drug. It's been employed in this fashion but so have all other depressants, of which the most notable and popular is alcohol. Alcohol is a much more common date rape drug and it is the combination of alcohol and GHB which is used most often to sedate a woman. However, GHB takes the blame for both alcohol (organ toxic, brain damaging, potentially fatal by itself) and GHB (non-toxic, non-brain damaging, non-fatal by itself to the best of our substantial knowledge.)
Until the early 1990s sold legally in the US at health stores (e.g. GNC). It was said to help users go to sleep and to promote Growth Hormone release while sleeping. Many athletes used the drug with no ill effect and enjoyed it as a non-toxic of alternative to alcohol whether or not it enhanced their hormonal status. Until the early 2000s, chemicals which metabolized into GHB and had nearly identical effects were available legally in the United States. These similar drugs most likely have toxicity that GHB does not share. They were and are, at the very least, potentially very harmful because of the lack of data we have about them.
GHB is now illegal and fully demonized in the United States. It does have a particular medical use which it is prescribed for: narcolepsy. It is marketed, or rather sold without marketing, under the brand name Xyrem for this condition.
1) GHB is, to the best of our substantial knowledge non-toxic when taken alone although it does cause unconsciousness at doses just above the recretational dose. This is a characteristic it shares in common with alcohol.
2) WHEN TAKEN WITH ALCOHOL, GHB KILLS! VERY IMPORTANT!!! EVEN SMALL AMOUNTS OF ALCOHOL TAKEN WITH SMALL AMOUNTS OF GHB KILL! All the deaths attributed to GHB are attributable to the taking of alcohol or other drugs with GHB; I'm inclined to put the blame on the drugs which can kill when taken by themselves.
3) Street "GHB" is not just GHB; it's a bunch of other crap which you'll never identify. STREET GHB IS NOT SAFE BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IN ANY GIVEN DOSE!!!!
4) GHB is a CNS(nervous system) depressant like alcohol. Its effects are similar to alcohol. It causes unconsciousness at a dose slightly above the recreational dose, like alcohol. Unlike alcohol, GHB does not harm the liver, other major organs, or the brain when taken alone. OBVIOUSLY, WHEN GHB KNOCKS SOMEONE OUT THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR GREAT HARM. This is the same for any sleeping pill or depressant. People knocked out by GHB tend to wake up after a few hours, say 4 or 5. People knocked out by a combination of GHB and other drugs need to be taken to a hospital.
5) WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE UNCONSCIOUS ON GHB, TAKE THEM TO A HOSPITAL because there's no way of knowing if they took anything else with the GHB. Absolutely, positively, if someone is unconscious and they took GHB with ALCOHOL or any other drug RUSH THEM TO THE HOSPITAL BEFORE THEY DIE.
This is very real. In short: GHB isn't bad but mixing it with alcohol is fatal. GHB isn't bad but street "GHB" isn't necessarily GHB and is thus bad. So, don't take GHB until it's legal again, and take anyone who passes out on alcohol and GHB to the hospital immediately!
Guy: Are you kidding? I'm about to G out!
Dude: Let me get some.
Guy: You're drinking dude! You can't take G with that shit you'll end up in the hospital like Susie!
Dude: I'm strong like berserker, hand it over. <dude drinks>
<Next day, Guy is at Dude's funeral. Everything is blamed on the GHB rather than the alcohol or the way they were combined.>