Warwickshire services welcome measures introduced by the Government to ban the dangerous date rape drug GBL (Gamma-butyrolactone).
Warwickshire County Council, NHS Warwickshire and Warwickshire Police embrace the news that the drug will be listed as Class C under an amendment to the government’s Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 which takes effect today (23 December).
Before today GBL was an industrial substance that could be legally purchased over the internet. However the reclassification means it is now illegal to have, give away or sell the drug for human consumptionHowever the reclassification means it is now illegal to have, give away or sell the drug for human consumption.
The profile of the drug was raised earlier this year following the GBL related death of a young medical student, but there is still low awareness of its effects - especially when taken with alcohol and other substances including recreational drugs.
It has strong sedative and anaesthetic effects leading to unconsciousness which associates it to with cases of drug-assisted sexual assault and rape. In some cases it can cause coma and death - even for experienced users.
“We support the Government’s decision to make this drug illegal.” said Kit Leck manger of Warwickshire’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team. He continued: “GBL was previously one of the many legal high drugs available, often thought to be harmless even though they can prove deadly. We will continue to work closely with our partners in health and law enforcement to educate people about the risks of these drugs.”
Professor Ian Philip, Medical Director at NHS Warwickshire said: We welcome the decision to make illegal the possession and consumption of GBL. This drug is dangerous to health and can cause unconsciousness and in some cases, death. By making it illegal, I hope that people will realise the harmful effects that the drug can have and would consider not using it.”
DI Tony Mumford of Warwickshire Police commented: We also welcome the reclassification of this potentially lethal drug. Fortunately the forensic examination of samples taken during rape investigations indicates that use of drugs to facilitate the offence is, in fact, extremely rare. However we continue to urge anyone enjoying a night out to hang on to their drinks at all times.
Warwickshire Police continue to work relentlessly with partners to reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs. We will continue to target organised crime groups and individuals who seek to supply and distribute these substances. Officers also have the power to arrest those they believe ay be using illegal drugs too.
Possession for human consumption can get you up to two years in jail and/or an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
Cllr Hobbs, Warwickshire portfolio holder for community protection added: “The decision to reclassify this drug will hopefully raise awareness of its dangerous consequences and make more people think before they experiment with so-called legal highs.”
More information about the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 can be found on the Home Office website http://www.drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/
For more information about drug and alcohol support services in Warwickshire visit the DAAT website http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/drugs