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Student tests positive for GHB in spiked drink

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

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.


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