Date rape drug use grows

A drug that has only recently been banned is now gaining popularity as a date-rape drug.

GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate, is a depressant that was banned by the United States government in March 2000, Kerry Redican, Virginia Tech professor of drug education in the College of Human Resources and Education, said.

"It was originally developed as an anaesthetic," he said, "but it was really not deemed to be that functional."

However, homemade versions of GHB are reappearing and are commonly used as acquaintance rape–or date rape–drugs.

GHB may also be surpassing roofies, or Rohypnol, as the most popular acquaintance-rape drug, Christine Dennis, the sexual assault services and education coordinator at the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, said.

"Some people use GHB as a recreational drug, but it can be used to facilitate a rape," she said.

Like other depressants, GHB can cause a sense of euphoria and drowsiness, Redican said.

"With a high enough concentration, it could induce unconsciousness," he said.

Because GHB is a colorless, odorless liquid, it can easily be mixed into an alcoholic drink. People must be attentive when drinking alcohol, Dennis said.

"You have to know what your normal reaction to a drink is," she said.

According to Dennis, if someone feels sleepy after having only one drink, it may be a sign that GHB or another drug was added to the drink.

Since GHB has been banned, the only versions that exist are homemade and, therefore, unregulated. This makes the drug especially dangerous, Dennis said.

"Because it’s homemade, some versions may be stronger than others," she said.

Testing as soon as possible after the drug is taken is crucial, and it may be impossible to trace after a period of time, according to Dennis.

"The effects [of GHB] occur within 15 to 20 minutes and can last three to six hours depending on the dosage," Dennis said. "Medical attention is necessary within 24 hours."

When GHB was legal, it was used to stimulate hormone growth, Redican said.

"It didn’t take too long before it was used as a recreational drug," he said. "The government made it illegal with penalties for distributing it."

Many laws on rape have also been rewritten to account for any drug sedation that may have occurred, Radican said.

This article was imported from The Falcon’s Records
If you find an error, mistake, or omission due to the import process, please contact us.
Original Metadata about the article can be found below

Title: Date rape drug use grows | Author: Jullie Buchanan | Section: News | Published Date: 2002-01-30 | Internal ID: 2426