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IS THE ‘DATE RAPE DRUG’ ILLEGAL IN THE UK?

Home secretary Priti Patel has issued an urgent review into stricter controls of ‘liquid ecstasy’

Growing up you may have been warned about people secretly slipping drugs into other people’s drinks to take advantage of them sexually.

You should be aware that there could be predators hoping to make you drunk or vulnerable. Whether you’re drinking non alcoholic drinks, people can slip drugs in your drinks. Always pour your own drink or never leave them unattended.

A man described as Britain’s most prolific rapist was jailed for a minimum of 30 years, for 159 offences against 48 men.

Reynhard Sinaga lured victims back to his flat, offering a place to stay, and is then thought to have laced alcoholic drinks with the drug, GHB, in order to incapacitate them. 

But what is GHB, and what impact would it have to legally reclassify it? 

GHB is a psychoactive drug that can be used as a medical treatment for narcolepsy, and when first developed in the 1960s, was used as an anaesthetic. ✕

Today GHB, also known as ‘liquid ecstasy’, is used recreationally as a party drug, or during sex, particularly by gay men in the ‘chemsex scene’. Professor Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey writes in a 2020 report: “It’s big on the chemsex scene in many cities.”

GHB should not be confused with GBL. which is a separate, but nearly chemically-identical drug.

What does GHB look like?

According to UK drug advisory service, GHB is normally sold as a colourless and odourless liquid, which has almost no smell and a soapy or salty taste. 

What effect does GHB have and is it dangerous?

GHB produces similar effects to alcohol, according to Frank. This includes feelings of euphoria, drowsiness, intense relaxedness and feeling turned on. 

Similarly to ecstasy, it can also reduce inhibitions leading people to have more intense sexual experiences.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 27 deaths, involving GHB, in England and Wales, in 2018 alone. 

Is GHB illegal? 

GHB has been classified as a Class C drug since 2003 under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971). This means it is against the law to possess it or sell it for human ingestion. 

Being charged with supplying GHB can hold a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. 

IS THE ‘DATE RAPE DRUG’ ILLEGAL IN THE UK?
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