House Votes to Put GHB On List of Illegal Drugs

House Votes to Put GHB On List of Illegal Drugs
Posted by FoM on February 01, 2000 at 06:54:46 PT
By Guy Gugliotta, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
The House yesterday gave final approval to a bill that would list a powerful diet supplement and "date rape" drug as a controlled substance carrying the same penalties as the most powerful illegal narcotics.The bill covers gamma hydroxybutyric acid, also known as GHB, and similar substances, which are touted by Internet vendors as helpful additives that promote everything from sound sleep to bigger muscles and better sex.
But the Food and Drug Administration has documented 58 deaths from GHB and its analogues, known as GBL, BD or 1,4 butanediol, and since August 1999, the FDA has received 122 reports from health professionals around the country of serious GHB abuse.The bill was approved by a vote of 329-2 yesterday after being passed unanimously in the Senate late last year. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the bill's principal House sponsor, said President Clinton has indicated he will sign the measure.Upton said he started working on the legislation a year ago when Samantha Reid, 15, died after teenagers at a party in Grosse Ile, Mich., spiked her drink of Mountain Dew. Reid vomited once, passed out and never recovered.Jury selection began yesterday in Detroit in the trial of four young men charged with manslaughter in the Reid case. "It is an awful story," Upton said. "I heard from people from all over the Midwest."The FDA banned GHB in 1991, but a 1994 law makes it virtually impossible for the federal government to control the sales of natural "diet supplements" that metabolize into GHB once they are ingested. The supplement is marketed under brand-names like Revitalize Plus, Serenity, Enliven and Thunder Nectar.Yesterday's measure sidesteps the supplement question by adding GHB, its precursors and its analogues to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a list reserved for illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. Possession, manufacture or distribution of GHB will carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison.First notorious as a date rape drug, GHB has been promoted in recent years for enhanced sexual and athletic performance and better sleep. Phoenix Suns basketball star Tom Gugliotta, apparently unaware of the dangers, had a seizure on the team bus and was hospitalized late last year after taking a dose of GHB. By Guy GugliottaWashington Post Staff WriterTuesday, February 1, 2000; Page A0 Copyright 2000 The Washington Post CompanyRelated Articles:Club Drug Dangers - 12/24/99 Bill Makes GHB A Controlled Substance - 11/23/99
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