In better news

// 8 August 2008

Apparently the Home Office is going to ban two chemicals which can be combined to create the date-rape drug GHB. Gamma-butyrolactone and 1,4 butanediol when swallowed together they turn into GHB and are used in some solvents and cleaning products.

But it’s not all good news – the chemical industry has to be consulted first.

Comments From You

Sabre // Posted 8 August 2008 at 5:04 pm

It isn’t bad news that the chemical industry has to be consulted first. It is a necessary consultation process that allows those who will be directly affected to have some say – only fair I think. When chemicals get banned the chemical companies involved usually suffer a financial kick, and for small companies especially this can result in job losses or complete closure. The two chemicals in question are widely used and are not that hard to synthesise if you know how. Government has to weigh up the pros and cons of banning them; the risk and danger to humans vs the economic impact. A proper consultation of all stakeholders, including the chemical industry is part of democracy.

chem_fem // Posted 8 August 2008 at 5:20 pm

As a chemist I’m not as supportive of this as I could be. Wouldn’t it be better to limit the use of these reagents rather than ban them outright?

Many reagents that are potential drug precursors are all ready limited and you have to have a home office license to use them. Unless of course this is what the government has proposed and the BBC has translated that to banned.

Mobot // Posted 8 August 2008 at 8:07 pm

Hi, sorry to be a naysayer but I don’t believe for a second that this is a move undertaken in the spirit of feminism… we still live in a climate in which the police are quoted as saying that they believe the majority of reported date rape cases to be the result of confusion due to women and girls drinking ‘too much’ :-/ The Home Office is, IMO, far more concerned about catching ‘criminals’ who use drugs that are on its list of illegal nasties than it appears to be concerned about equality. At the end of the day, the vast majority of date rape and drink spiking takes place through drinks being spiked with more alcohol, as perpetrators are aware that it’s almost impossible to prove that the victim didn’t just drink more than they thought they had and make an ill-informed judgement as a result. Furthermore, drink spiking is even more commonly carried out by young people trying to ‘spice up’ their mate’s evening than by would-be rapists, again not generally with GHB as it’s not a drug you tend to find floating around most social scenes these days… I’m just pointing all of this out because I don’t think the chemicals themselves are to blame but rather the underlying notion that women’s bodies are public/men’s property and therefore it’s somehow acceptable to get a woman wasted and do as you please with her. The government tends to take entirely the wrong position on this by suggesting that women should ‘behave themselves’ whereas men are free to be as badly behaved as they like. I just don’t like to see scapegoating taking place, it’s too simple. Damn, I’m pissed off now!

vxn // Posted 10 August 2008 at 1:46 am

I agree with Mobot in the main.

Rather than move to change the opinions of people in the UK, the home office has rather typically decided to use the ‘sledgehammer’ approach and ban that which is linked to the effect, rather than the cause.

The home office could spend a little more money and advertise the direct consequences of rape and sexual violence, and campaign against the mild acceptance this finds in society, but, of course, this doesn’t happen.

Saranga // Posted 10 August 2008 at 5:18 pm

I agree with the first 4 comments (no more are showing yet). It seems rather a knee jerk reaction and won’t solve the underlying problem of people thinking it’s ok to drug someone in order to then rape/assualt them.

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