Drug Legislation Alone Won't Stop Date Rape

Drug Legislation Alone Won't Stop Date Rape
Posted by FoM on February 04, 2000 at 08:27:11 PT
Staff Editorial Michigan Daily U. Michigan
Source: U-WIRE
By an overwhelming vote of 339-2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Date Rape Control and Prevention Act Tuesday. The law makes gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, a Schedule I drug - the same federal classification attached to heroin and cocaine. While GHB does have recreational uses, the purpose of making it a federally controlled substance is to combat the use of the drug in date rape crimes.
Although the intentions of Congress are certainly commendable, their approach in this legislation is misdirected. Rape is one of the most fundamentally destructive violations of a person's human rights. Date rape is particularly deplorable because the perpetrators also breach the victims' trust and friendship. The use of GHB, or any other substance, to commit this offense further compounds the insidiousness of the act - the drug becomes a weapon. The use of drugs and alcohol to commit date rape is certainly a serious social problem worthy of government action. But this act does little to nothing to provide prevention of date rape: The law merely creates the illusion of security. Its provisions do not address the underlying societal causes of date rape, nor do they in actuality make women any safer. As such, the act is a knee-jerk reaction by lawmakers whose position effectively blames a morally neutral chemical substance for the unacceptable actions of culpable individuals. In classifying GHB as a Schedule I drug, Congress is simply expanding the "war on drugs," perhaps the most flawed government initiative in recent history. Decades of policy and incalculable sums of money have clearly shown the prohibitive approach of the war on drugs to be an unmitigated failure. Its fundamental logic counters the principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility. Its practice buttresses several considerably worse social ills, ranging from generating a criminal culture to the incarceration of otherwise law-abiding persons to the undermining of the legal structure that perpetuates this faulty system. The prohibitive approach to drugs simply does not work. Despite all the effort devoted to the federal government's anti-drug program, drug use continues unabated. There is no reason to believe that the drug war will be any more effective when waged against GHB, and even less reason to feel that criminalizing GHB will lead to a decline in date rape. Clearly, there have to be more effective steps that can be taken in fighting date rape. Our elected officials should spend less time speaking out about the ills of drugs and more time educating on violence against women. All of society needs to focus not only on changing men's attitudes towards women, but also on informing women of the rights they have and the dangers they face. A fraction of the money that will be spent in vain trying to eradicate GHB from the national landscape could be more productive if used for an advertising campaign to make people aware of how rapists might use the drug to facilitate their crimes. In cases where GHB is used to commit rape, the model can be taken from laws in which other violent crimes are treated more seriously when a gun is used. Date rape is a serious crime that needs to be dealt with, both in individual offenses and at the broader social level, and Congress is definitely correct in trying to address this critical issue. But the Date Rape Control and Prevention Act is a misguided approach that will only amplify the unsound and ineffective war on drugs, and will not serve to prevent date rapes or make life safer for potential victims. (U-WIRE) Ann Arbor, Mich.Published: February 3, 2000(C) 2000 Michigan Daily via U-WIRE  Copyright  1995-2000 Excite Inc. Related Article: Date-Rape Drug Series Kicks Off - 12/08/99 Bill Makes GHB A Controlled Substance - 11/23/99
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Comment #2 posted by Doc-Hawk on February 04, 2000 at 19:25:52 PT:
Nay Voters
The Nay votes were cast by: Chenoweth-Hage and Paul. Paul is a Libertarian from Texas and consistently votes against the War on Drugs and for freedom
National Libertarian Party
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Comment #1 posted by CongressmanSuet on February 04, 2000 at 09:41:12 PT
   I would like to know who the 2 dissenters were, there is always room on my Christmas card list.....
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