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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-31-98

Proposed Bill Cracks Down on "Date-Rape" Drug

Legislators are considering increasing the penalty for GHB, a so-called "rape drug" that has also caused seizures, comas, and death.

GHB, or gamma hydroxy butyrate, is one of several drugs that rapists have used to subdue their victims before sexually assaulting them. Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R- Ark), a proponent of stricter penalties for possession of the drug, said that he is aware of several instances in which women who have been immobilized by GHB and raped could not identify their assailants because the drug affects victims' memories. GHB is currently being used by criminals nationwide, and is difficult for police to detect because it can easily be concealed in water and eye-drop bottles. It can also disappear from a victim's blood stream in only 12 hours.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee for Texas has introduced a bill to make it easier for law enforcement officials to apprehend drug producers,who are currently slipping through legal loopholes. By slightly changing the chemical composition of the drug so that it produces the same effects, yet is technically no longer the illegal substance GHB, dealers circumvent the definition of the current law. Jackson-Lee's proposal would expand the definition of GHB to include a variety of similar drugs. The bill also encourages education programs about date-rape substances.

Jackson-Lee dedicated her legislation to Hillory J. Farias, a 17-year-old Texan who died in 1996 after GHB was slipped into her soda.

Media Resources: AP - July 31, 1998


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