Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/19/1997 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 1:38 p.m. and announced the presence of Senators Parnell             
 and Ellis.  The first order of business before the committee was HB
             HB  69 ROHYPNOL AS SCHEDULE IV-A DRUG                            
  REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY , sponsor of the measure, gave the following         
 overview of the legislation.  Flunitrazepam belongs to the Schedule           
 IV class of medications known as benzodiazepines.  It came on the             
 market about the time Alaska enacted its Title 11 statutes and did            
 not get incorporated into that title.  The drug has shown up on the           
 crime scene during the last two years, and is rapidly becoming the            
 drug of choice for those who wish to commit the heinous crime of              
 date rape.  It leaves a victim with no memory of events that                  
 occurred shortly after ingestion of the drug for up to two to eight           
 hours and is not detectable by standard urinalysis tests.                     
 Flunitrazepam was classified in Schedule IVA because all other                
 benzodiazapines are in that schedule.                                         
 Number 055                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked what felony classification possession of the          
 drug would fall under.   REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY  answered the                   
 controlled substance statutes vary according to how a violation               
 occurs.  If a person was caught in possession of less than 25                 
 tablets of flunitrazepam, the offense would be a class A                      
 misdemeanor; if more than 25 tablets, a class C felony.  If a                 
 person attempts to distribute the drug to a minor, the offense                
 would be a class B felony.  If the drug is used in the commission             
 of a crime, the offense would be classified as sexual assault in              
 the first degree, an unclassified felony.                                     
 Number 073                                                                    
  MR. GEORGE TAFT,  director of the Scientific Crime Laboratory in             
 Anchorage, testified via teleconference and informed the committee            
 one case involving use of this drug has appeared in Alaska; that              
 case is now pending.  The states of Texas and Florida have                    
 published numerous articles about the various problems                        
 flunitrazepam has created in those states.                                    
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked Mr. Taft if this drug is used in any form by          
 the medical profession.   MR. TAFT  was not aware of any valid                
 medical use, and added it is not approved for use in the United               
  REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY  commented flunitrazepam is used in 64 to 80            
 countries as a medication for extreme sleep disorders.  It is not             
 licensed for manufacture or distribution in the United States.  The           
 manufacturer does not intend to get it licensed here because other            
 drugs are prescribed for sleep disorders.  However, it is becoming            
 prevalent on the crime scene in the United States because it is               
 readily available in other countries.                                         
 Number 133                                                                    
  LAUREE HUGONIN , Executive Director of the Alaska Network on                 
 Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, testified in support of HB 69           
 and submitted written testimony to committee members.                         
  SENATOR PARNELL  asked Ms. Hugonin if she is familiar with cases             
 involving flunitrazepam other than the one case mentioned by Mr.              
 Taft.   MS. HUGONIN  said she is familiar with the one case and               
 suspects other unreported cases have occurred.                                
  JAYNE ANDREEN , Director of the Council on Domestic Violence and             
 Sexual Assault, stated the Council's support of HB 69 for the                 
 reasons stated by previous speakers.                                          
  SENATOR PARNELL  moved SSHB 69 from committee with individual                
 recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects