University News

Student tests positive for GHB in spiked drink

Community-wide email confirms student was given illegal substance at Phi Psi party

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, November 10, 2014

One of the two students who reported consuming drinks spiked with date-rape drugs at a fraternity party Oct. 17 has tested positive for the drug GHB, wrote Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, executive vice president for planning and policy, and Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, in a community-wide email Saturday afternoon. Results of a test for the second student is still pending, according to the email.

One of the two students who attended the party in Sears House also reported being sexually assaulted later that night while incapacitated.

GHB, which the University’s BWell Health Promotion website describes as an “odorless, colorless liquid,” is a “dangerous drug used as a predatory tool by those seeking to commit sexual violence,” Carey and Klawunn wrote, adding that it is illegal to possess, use or distribute GHB in Rhode Island.

The state designated GHB a Schedule I substance in 1998 under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, according to the Rhode Island General Assembly website. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration defines a Schedule I substance as a drug without an accepted medical usage and a high potential for abuse.

The Food and Drug Administration approved GHB in 2002 for the treatment of narcolepsy in highly regulated cases, though GHB remains illegal in Rhode Island under legislation reviewed as recently as Oct. 2.

Because the illegal substance was administered on University grounds, the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Student Life are jointly conducting the investigations into the students’ allegations of being given date rape drugs and being sexually assaulted. The joint investigation will address “criminal activity under Rhode Island state law as well as potential violations of Brown University’s Code of Student Conduct,” Carey and Klawunn wrote.

The best way to intervene “as a friend or a bystander” in a situation involving date rape drugs or over-intoxication is to call Emergency Medical Services immediately, wrote Bita Shooshani, coordinator of sexual assault prevention and advocacy, in an email to The Herald. “It’s up to all of us to make sure our communities are safe for everyone,” she added.

Students can read about the effects and uses of GHB and other date rape drugs on the Health Promotion website.

More information about the ongoing investigations is forthcoming, Carey and Klawunn wrote. Neither could be reached for additional comment by press time.


  1. Shameful, horrifying. Hope there is swift justice for the victim(s).

  2. I hope that this will mean jail time for Chris Paxson and Margaret Klawunn.

  3. Tom Bale '63 says:

    Derek Finn: It is your kind of attitude that leads directly or indirectly to the crime committed in Sears house. I still say the BDH should develop a policy that prohibits anonymous cheap shots like yours that offers only ridicule and nothing of substance.

    • Jail time IS substance.

    • Tom Bale, You need to get your senile head examined. A third party’s attitude about law enforcement leads to drugging and rape on a college campus? And so how would any BDH policy encourage or prevent any crime? Either you had not learned to think at all from your years at Brown, or you have lost all of what you learned because you have lost too many brain cells. No wonder you hold Chris Paxson in such high regard.

    • Tom Bale '63 says:

      Shouldn’t you lead by example and make a profile instead of using your name as a guest account?

  4. Definitive action must be taken by the university, especially when it involves drugs, alcohol, and sexual violence on campus. When interviewing students interested in attending Brown, it is difficult to address the issues of campus safety when these types of incidents are happening at central campus locations.

  5. Great article, I enjoyed reading your post on GHB. This drug does not get as much attention as it use. It still is dangerous as in this case. I’ve taken it upon myself to find more information on this drug when I came across an interesting article.

    Should anyone else be interested to see how this would help others here’s the page I looked at

    Hopefully, this information can provide more insight on the drug that someone may not know about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *