The illicit use and abuse of 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD) results from its presumed conversion to gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and subsequent pharmacological effects via action on GABA-B and GHB-specific receptors. Using in vivo microdialysis we measured the appearance of GHB in the striata of rats after peripheral 1,4-BD administration. We developed and utilized an HPLC-UV (215 nm) detection of GHB that yielded a limit of quantification (S/N = 10) of 2.0 μg/mL (40 ng/injection) and a limit of detection (S/N = 3) of 0.75 μg/mL (15 ng/injection). GHB appeared in the striatal microdialysates within 20 min after intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of varying doses of 1,4-BD. GHB concentrations reached dose-dependent maxima 80–100 min post-1,4-BD administration, with peak values of 10.6 ± 2.9, 25.3 ± 3.4 and 48.1 ± 7.1 μg/mL (mean ± S.E.M.), corresponding to 1,4-BD doses of 250, 500 and 750 mg/kg, respectively. The conversion of 1,4-BD to GHB was completely prevented by the alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor 4-methylpyrazole (4MP), administered prior to 1,4-BD, as evidenced by the failure of GHB to appear in the striatal microdialysates. Sleep times in animals were similarly correlated with GHB concentrations in the microdialysates.