Date-rape drugs 'still too easy to buy'

Date-rape drugs 'still too easy to buy'

Date-rape drugs are still too easily available around the world and countries need to clamp down on them, a watchdog said yesterday.

Sexual predators can easily get hold of them, despite existing efforts to curb their misuse, the International Narcotics Control Board said in its annual report.

Governments should quickly adopt measures to limit illegal access and increase public awareness about the risks of leaving food and drinks unattended at public events such as parties, it said.

“The date-rape drug phenomenon is evolving rapidly as sexual abusers attempt to circumvent stricter drug controls by using substances not restricted by international drug conventions,” the board said.

The misuse of flunitrazepam – brand name Rohypnol – has been reduced, thanks to international efforts, but the report said rapists are now using gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid – known as GHB – or ketamine and gamma-Butyrolactone, commonly referred to as GBL.

“Since in many countries most of those drugs are easily available, they frequently fall into criminal hands,” the board said.

While GHB was put under international control in 2001, not all countries have followed up with regulations on a national level, the report said. Ketamine and GBL, meanwhile, remain outside drug conventions and can therefore be easily obtained.

“Drug traffickers obtain the substances in question through internet pharmacies and the mail system, or from illicit manufacture,” the report said.

To tackle the problem, the board urged governments to work together with the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and to ensure that police and prosecutors have the legal authority to take action.

“In many countries, the use of substances to facilitate the commission of crime does not constitute a criminal offence and therefore cannot be properly sanctioned,” the report said.


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