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"Date Rape" Drug Deaths Rising

The Drug Enforcement Administration has reported that the illegal "date-rape" and body-building drug gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) has been linked to 32 deaths and 3,500 overdoses in the U.S. since 1990. Gamma butyrolactone, a similar drug that transforms into GHB when taken orally, has been linked to 55 health problems including one death and 19 instances where the drug caused the user to become unconscious or go into a coma.

According to the FDA, the GHB was originally used as a body-building drug but has now been used recreationally for its intoxicating effects and has been linked to numerous date rapes. GBL has been marketed in health food stores and on the internet as a dietary supplement. Brand names have included Blue Nitro, Blue Nitro Vitality, Renewtrient, Revivarant, Rivavarant G, GH Revitalizer, Gamma G, and Remforce. An FDA statement read, "Although labeled as dietary supplements, these products are illegally marketed, unapproved drugs."

The latest casualty of these deadly drugs was 15-year-old Samantha Reid, who died on January 17, one day after four men slipped the drug into her soft drink at a party. The men also drugged two other girls, one of whom required hospitalization.

Erick Limmer, 25; Joshua Cole, 18; Daniel Brayman, 18; and 17-year-old Nicholas Holtschlag were arraigned Tuesday on charges of manslaughter and poisoning. If found guilty, the men could face a maximum sentence of life in prison for the poisoning charge, and up to 15 years for manslaughter.

Media Resources: Reuters - February 18, 1997 and March 16, 1999; and UPI - January 22, 1999



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