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GHB rape drug to be given tougher classification

The anaesthetic linked to date rape and robbery is being given a tougher legal classification.

Street dealing or possession of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and related substances will get a harsher sentence after it is reclassified as Class B drug.

The substance, known as Liquid Ecstasy, has been linked to deaths, rapes and robberies.

It will now be reclassified following recommendations by the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

The Home Office will also bring forward legislation around two substances that can be converted to GHB on ingestion - gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD).

This will mean that those wishing to possess them for legitimate industrial purposes will require a licence.

The maximum penalty for the possession of a Class C drug is up to two years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. The maximum penalty for the possession of a Class B drug is five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

It was brought under the Misuse of Drugs Act as a Class C drug in 2003.

First created in the 1960s, it first came to attention among US clubbers in the 1980s.

GHB has been a cause for concern among medics and drug counsellors for years. It is a sedative used as an anaesthetic but it has been adopted by clubbers and others for recreational use.

Commonly known as G, it renders the user unconscious and is highly addictive. 

The drug has also been linked to date-rapes, robberies, overdoses by users and murders. Chem-sex addicts become hooked very quickly and a number of deaths have been linked to their overdosing.

The Metropolitan Police pledged to investigate 58 deaths in 2016 following the conviction of Stephen Port who killed four young men with the drug.

The Home Secretary sought the reclassification last year after the case of Reynard Sinaga, who was found guilty of 136 counts of rape in trials lasting until December 2019.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “GHB and related substances have been used to commit some truly sickening crimes including murder, sexual assault and robbery.”

“I will do everything in my power to protect people from harm, which is why I am tightening restrictions around these dangerous substances.”

But the drug is widely available on the internet, and is popular among body builders who use it illegally for muscle development – despite the known risks.

 Ms Patel said: “These changes will make the drugs harder to access and introduce tougher penalties for possession.”

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