'Date-rape chemicals' may be banned

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Indy Politics

Ministers are planning to ban two chemicals which can be used as date rape drugs, it was announced today.

The substances are legally available but when absorbed by the body they rapidly convert to the drug GHB, which was banned five years ago after being implicated in sexual assaults.

Scientific advisors have warned that the drugs may be contributing to the "significant problem" of drug-aided rape.

The Home Office said it now intends to control the two chemicals, known as Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 butanediol (1,4-BD) as Class C drugs after a consultation period.

A Home Office spokesman said: "When ingested rapidly, they convert to GHB, which is a Class C drug and has been cited in cases of date rape.

"The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs found they were increasingly being used as a legal substitute for GHB, particularly as a 'club drug', and can lead to dependence if used regularly, unconsciousness and even death by intoxication."

The chemical industry will be asked for its views on controlling GBL and 1,4-BD, which are widely available as cleaning fluids and industrial solvents.

Earlier this year a seven-year-old girl from south London nearly died after eating toy beads coated with 1,4-BD, which caused her to suffer breathing problems and lose consciousness.

The Home Office also revealed plans to control 26 anabolic steroids and growth promoting drugs, in addition to nearly 60 which are already illegal.

The substances are banned by sports authorities but are not currently listed as controlled drugs.

Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said: "Some people, in particular those who aspire to Olympic success, may think that anabolic steroids can enhance their performance but they can in fact have serious health consequences.

"Today's move will ensure that our controls, aimed at illicit suppliers, are up to date.

"Law enforcement agencies will work alongside sporting bodies to ensure that these new measures are effective against the small minority who choose to misuse drugs in this way."

Sport minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "With the London 2012 Games coming ever closer we must ensure that drug cheats and those supplying and trafficking banned substances have no place to hide.

"The setting up of a new National Anti-Doping Agency ahead of London 2012 will strengthen our approach and stop those trying to beat the system in their tracks."

The two growth promoters which ministers plan to ban are Zeranol and Zilpaterol, and the anabolic steroids are: 1-Androstendiol, 1-Androstendione, Boldione, Gestrinone, Danazol, Desoexoymethyltestosterone, 19-Norandrostenedione, Prostanozol, Tetrahydrogestrinone, Dihydrotestosterone, 5alpha-Androstane-3alpha, 17alpha-diol, 5alpha-Androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol, 5alpha-Androstane-3beta, 17alpha-diol, 5alpha-Androstane-3beta, 17beta-diol, Androst-4-ene-3beta, 17beta-diol ('Androstenediol'), Androst-4-ene-3alpha, 17alpha-diol, Androst-4-ene-3alpha, 17beta-diol, Androst-4-ene-3beta,17alpha-diol, 5-Androstenedione, Epidihydrotestosterone, 3alpha-Hydroxy-5alpha-androstan-17-one, 3beta -Hydroxy-5alpha-androstan-17-one, 19-Norandrosterone, 19-Noretiocholanolone.

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