War Builds on Drug Tied to Date Rape 

War Builds on Drug Tied to Date Rape 
Posted by FoM on February 20, 2000 at 17:25:43 PT
By Dee Drummond, Blade Staff Writer
Source: Toledo Blade
Jennifer Rogers is careful when she puts her drink down in public places. She's heard horror stories about women whose drinks were laced with the date-rape drug known as GHB."It's kind of weird to watch your Coke at a mall or a drink when you go out to a club,'' said Ms. Rogers, 22, of Adrian. "But you have to. You just can't take any chances. There are so many crazy people out there. You just don't know whom to trust.''
The controversy over GHB - gamma-hydroxybutyrate - has been building for years.Originally used as a dietary supplement, the clear, odorless liquid is being slipped into drinks of unsuspecting women in bars and parties.The drug can make a victim feel giddy, drunk, and sick before they pass out. Victims frequently have no memory of what happened, and the drug is difficult to trace, often leaving the body within 24 hours. Police say some men are using the drug to sexually abuse women.Since 1990, GHB has been linked to at least 58 deaths and more than 5,700 recorded overdoses, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. There have been at least five GHB-related deaths in Michigan.Michigan is one of the states leading the fight to ban GHB.A trial began last week for three of four Michigan men charged with manslaughter and poisoning in the death of Samantha Reid, a 15-year-old who died in January, 1999, after GHB was slipped into her soft drink at a party.The trial is the nation's first prosecution for a GHB-related death.The Federal Drug Administration in 1990 banned GHB for public sale amid concerns about its use as a dietary supplement. And in 1998, Michigan made possessing the drug a felony. Michigan and about 20 other states, including Ohio, have classified GHB as a controlled substance.U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R., St. Joseph) last year introduced a bill banning the possession or distribution of GHB. The legislation, which was approved by the Senate and House, was signed by President Clinton on Friday.The new law would make GHB a Schedule 1 drug, placing it on the same level as cocaine. It would give the DEA authority for the first time to seek federal criminal prosecutions against those possessing and distributing the drug. Exceptions would be made for GHB clinical studies approved by the Food and Drug Administration to determine whether the drug helps with medical problems, such as narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder.As part of the legislation, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno will begin issuing an annual report on date-rape drugs and initiate a national awareness campaign."For a lot of us, Samantha Reid was a wake-up call for how prevalent these drugs have been,'' Mr. Upton said. "I cannot imagine a greater nightmare for a family.''Police and medical workers say GHB has found its way into northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.In Monroe, state police recently confiscated gallons of GHB from a car they stopped. Three weeks later, the same man was arrested in a motel room where he was mixing the GHB formula in a bathtub."It's a new chemical drug that's being introduced and used by young people,'' said Detective Bob Clark, task force commander with the Monroe Narcotics Investigation office. "A lot of high schoolers and people in their 20s are taking it. If it's not mixed correctly, people can consume it and basically burn their throats and lungs.''Hospital officials say they are seeing a rise in GHB cases. With the increase, they are becoming more aware of the symptoms."Usually what happens is a girl comes in who has been at a party or a gathering where there's alcohol,'' said Melodie Brooks, a sexual-assault nurse examiner at Toledo Hospital. "Their blacking out does not match with the amount of alcohol they had. They're scared to death. The biggest syndrome that we see is 'I'm guilty, it's my fault.' That's what we try to dispel in an emergency room.''Despite the tough laws, recipes to make GHB are common on the Internet.In August, Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm decided to take legal action against people who promote GHB on the Internet. While randomly typing in letters of the alphabet to explore web sites, she stumbled across one offering GHB how-to kits."A third grader could do it, the instructions were so simple,'' Ms. Granholm said. "That was their way of getting around selling GHB. Because of the ease with which we were able to obtain it, we really were alarmed.''Ms. Granholm filed felony criminal charges against two web-site promoters, charging them with solicitation to manufacture a controlled substance. The case is pending. If convicted, the men face a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail.The substance has been found in a wide range of products, including food-coloring bottles, purse-size hair spray containers, shampoo bottles, liquid breath mints, and lip balm. Mixed together with the right ingredients, it becomes deadly.While the date-rape scenario is a major concern, Detective Clark estimates that between 80 and 85 per cent of GHB use is voluntary.A dosage, generally the amount that fills a bottle cap, produces a euphoric feeling, heightens sexual libido, and lowers inhibitions. It is also known by street names that include Grievous Bodily Harm, Salty Water, and Great Hormones at Bedtime.Popular at rave parties - private underground gatherings that change locations and sometimes last for days - a capful goes for about $10. The drug can have the effect of four alcoholic drinks.Ms. Rogers is worried about the problem. So is her friend, Terry Jones, 23, a student at the University of Toledo. Both are cautious when they go to bars with their friends."People are out to have a good time. If they want to do it to themselves, that's their problem. But they shouldn't put it in somebody's drink just to take advantage of a woman. That's wrong,'' she said.The Medical College of Ohio has the only laboratory in the Toledo area capable of testing for the drug, which can be detected only through urine or blood.The lab handled dozens of GHB-related cases last year, said Dr. Robert Forney, director of toxicology at Medical College of Ohio.Diagnosing GHB is difficult, because it exists in the human body for such a short time.GHB is believed to be detectable after three hours, but it remains in the body for only up to 12 hours. Within 20 to 60 minutes of ingestion, half of the GHB dissipates from the blood.Many of the people who overdose on GHB are initially thought to be drunk, which delays testing for the drug. There is no antidote to counteract the drug's effects, so medical workers simply maintain the victim's airways and monitor the heart."Your body gets lazy, you stop breathing,'' said Dr. John Pappas, assistant director of the Medical College of Ohio's emergency department. "It relaxes your respiratory muscles. You pass out, you get sick. You can breathe in your own vomit and suffocate from that.''Police, politicians, and medical workers are teaming up in Michigan to increase awareness of the dangers of GHB.U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham (R., Auburn Hills) is leading a number of GHB-related task forces in the state. Along with educating young people about GHB, officials hope to stress this message: Only accept drinks from those you know, and never leave a drink unattended."This sort of just hit the scene; when we visited schools, students didn't know a lot about GHB,'' said Joe Davis, spokesman for Senator Abraham. "We're targeting everybody that may go to a restaurant, bar, or a party with their friends. If kids can smoke marijuana at the age of 8, they can certainly unknowingly ingest GHB.'' AdrianPublished: February 20, 2000 1999, 2000 The BladeRelated Articles on GHB:Clinton Signs Tough Date Rape Law NIDA On New Campaign Against Club Drugs Bill Makes GHB A Controlled Substance 
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Comment #1 posted by CongressmanSuet on February 21, 2000 at 09:36:48 PT
58 deaths since 1990,..........
   I think more people were killed in wood-chopping mishaps in Montana in January alone! Hey, the warriors are having a great time with this, they actually have a NEW menace to battle against. A new call to arms! I love the frenzy that accompanies this, "young girls"[' probably of which 70% you wouldnt even ask to dance, you get my drift] sit in states of fear, carefully watching their rum and coke, making sure that they arent about to be drugged and dragged off to the parking lot by some evil, sex crazed GHB fiend! PLEASE! It is stated that GHB is roughly 4 times stronger than alcohol. Okay, this to me seems to lead back to a kaptainemo post comparing drug potency to alcohol potency. What makes GHB any worse than 161 rum? It seems you could logically assertain that a single dose of GHB would approach a 11/2 shot dose of Everclear grain alcohol[200 proof] in its effects.All this talk about drug rape seems so fresh, a new menace. Well, anybody who spent too much time watching TV as a kid can tell you that this scenario has always been a favorite plot device.only it wasnt GHB, it was "knockout drops" [chloral hydrate was sometimes identified as the drug] that were dropped in the unsuspecting persons drink, always with such devastating results...although it was usually cold war secrets we were looking for. Its too bad that of those 58 deaths and 5000 hospital admissions probably 98% had to do with voluntary ghb usage, not the "drop it in the drink, guide her out to the car" type, but rather the "hey, if you drink a cap of this before going out you wont need to drink so much, and chances are you wont spend as much money or feel so sick in the morning" kind of use. This whole GHB thing is basically just another cause, just another justification to gear up some more, get tougher on those who would threaten the safety of our childrens minds. After all, it is for the CHILDREN that we are propagating all this insanity, isnt it?
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