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New Federal Law Enhances Penalties for Use of Date Rape Assistance Drugs

NCJ Number
164703
Journal
NCJA Justice Bulletin Volume: 16 Issue: 12 Dated: (December 1996) Pages: 1,3-5
Date Published
1996
Length
4 pages
Annotation
A new Federal law increases the penalties associated with the use of illicit drugs to aid in sexual assault; the law was prompted by increasing reports of sexual assaults committed by offenders who used the drug Rohypnol to sedate their victims.
Abstract
The Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996 imposes a prison sentence of up to 20 years for anyone intending to commit sexual assault by distributing illicit drugs to another person without their knowledge or consent. Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine and has been called the date rape drug. No form of the drug is lawfully manufactured or sold in the United States, but it is a prescription sleeping aid and tranquilizer in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The illegal use of Rohypnol is reported to be increasing in many southern States and on college campuses across the country. The drug's influence is compounded if it is taken with alcohol. The drug's relatively cost, the belief that it is safe because it comes in presealed bubble packs, and the incorrect belief that it is not detected through urinalysis account for its popularity. The new law both increases punishments, requires the United States Sentencing Commission to review the sentencing guidelines for offenses involving Rohypnol, and mandates a study by the Drug Enforcement Administration regarding the appropriateness of rescheduling the drug as a Schedule I drug. Source of further information