Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
03/13/2006 01:30 PM HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CSHB 379(JUD)-CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES, INCL. ANALOGS CHAIR DYSON announced CSHB 379(JUD) to be up for discussion. 1:35:18 PM REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, sponsor of CSHB 379(JUD), said that gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is oderless, tasteless, colorless, and easy to slip into a drink; consequently it is gaining popularity as a date rape drug. He related an incident that occurred in the state last year in which a 16-year-old girl died, and an 18-year-old girl was put into a coma after overdosing on GHB. He said that none of the analogues of GHB are listed under state statute because it is currently listed as a category IV controlled substance. He said that HB 379 would correct this oversight by elevating GHB to class one status, which has been its status with the federal government since the year 2000. He added that the bill would for allow the continued use of GHB in industry. 1:37:20 PM CHAIR DYSON said he assumed that most of the violations associated with the drug would be prosecuted in state court if this bill becomes law. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER replied yes. 1:37:43 PM MICHAEL PAWLOWSKI, staff to Representative Meyer, said that the aforementioned overdose case was tried in a federal court because the substance was not covered under state law. 1:38:11 PM SENATOR OLSON asked why GHB should be made a Schedule I drug when it does not share the addictive properties of other drugs in that category. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER replied that the federal government recognizes GHB as a highly addictive drug. 1:39:33 PM MR. PAWLOWSKI remarked that Alaska statute is behind federal statute with regard to the classification of GHB because it has only recently become a popular date rape drug. SENATOR OLSON asked him to describe the effects GHB. MR. PAWLOWSKI responded that is it slows the heart, respiratory system, and it can cause amnesia. He said that a very small quantity of the drug creates effects similar to that of severe alcohol intoxication. 1:41:47 PM SENATOR OLSON asked why this drug should be categorized as a Schedule I drug when it is less addictive than other drugs in that category. MR. PAWLOWSKI replied that the federal government classified GHB as a Schedule I drug because it is dangerous and addictive, it causes serious withdrawal symptoms, and has significant potential for widespread abuse. 1:42:06 PM SENATOR OLSON asked how the drug causes fatalities. MR. PAWLOWSKI replied the drug kills by causing respiratory system failure and cardiac arrest. CHAIR DYSON referenced the following from material presented with the bill: When ingested these analogues produce effects such as relaxation, mild euphoria, and drowsiness. Such effects are similar to the results of alcohol intoxication. They also increase libido, suggestibility, passivity, and amnesia - traits that make users vulnerable to sexual assault and other criminal acts. On awakening from a coma, users may exhibit extreme combativeness, a condition that is also observed in those addicted to GHB. 1:43:02 PM CHRIS BEHEIM, Crime Lab Supervisor, Alaska State Crime Lab, said that state law does not cover two of the analogues of GHB. He affirmed that the federal government categorized GHB as a Schedule I drug because of its high potential for widespread abuse and because of its addictive properties. SENATOR OLSON asked why metabolites of the drug clear so quickly from the liver and the kidney. MR. BEHEIM replied that question should be directed to a toxicologist. SENATOR OLSON asked whether metabolites of the drug are detected through spectrometry tests. MR. BEHEIM replied yes. He stressed that routine tests, such as the ones conducted in a hospital, would not detect the drug or its analogues. 1:45:49 PM SENATOR ELTON asked how authorities establish whether the drug has been used. MR. BEHEIM replied that the state lab could detect the drug in a liquid sample. He added that is how it was identified in the aforementioned overdose case. CHAIR DYSON remarked that the lab might one day have to equip itself to detect the drug in blood and urine samples. SENATOR OLSON asked whether there is a legal medical application of GHB. MR. BEHEIM replied that the drug has a legitimate medical application that is protected under the state's controlled substances statutes. 1:49:03 PM SENATOR OLSON asked whether the medical community has expressed its opinion on the passage of this bill. MR. BEHEIM replied that the medical community has not expressed an opinion on the bill. 1:49:31 PM SENATOR OLSON moved to report CSHB 379(JUD) out of committee. Without objection, CSHB 379(JUD) was reported from the Senate Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.