At least 57 people have been poisoned by a drug illicitly used for bodybuilding, weight control and as a sleep aid, federal health officials report.
The Centers for Disease Control said Thursday it received the first reports of poisoning from the drug, gamma hydroxy butrate, or GHB, in early August from the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Poison Control Center. Those reports prompted checks of other poison control centers that unearthed similar poisonings in eight other states.California reported 25 cases, including 17 from the San Francisco area; Georgia 15, all from the Atlanta area; Florida seven, six from the Tampa area; South Carolina three; Minnesota two; Arizona two; and one each from Ohio, Virginia and Texas.
"Although no deaths have been reported, most patients have required emergency room care; at least 11 were hospitalized, and nine required ventilator support or other intensive care," the CDC said.
GHB has been marketed illicitly to body builders since May.