GHB: Law and order

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 3:55 pm

On Saturday, January 16, 1999, two high school girls, Samantha Reid and Melanie Sindone, joined three male seniors for a night out. After finding nothing to do, the seniors drove the girls to the apartment of an older friend in Grosse Isle, Michigan.
There, in what they say was an attempt to liven the party, the young men slipped either GHB or the chemically related GBL into Reid’s soft drink and Sindone’s alcoholic drink without their knowledge. Within minutes of consuming their drinks, the drug caused both girls to vomit and go into a coma. It wasn’t until hours later that they were taken to the hospital. Sindone survived, but her best friend did not. Reid died as a result of vomit blocking air from entering her lungs.
A little more than a year later, the four men were prosecuted in the nation’s first GHB-related homicide lawsuit. The three younger men from suburban Detroit, Michigan, Joshua Cole, 19, Daniel Brayman, 19, and Nicholas Holtschlag, 18, were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and two counts each of mixing a harmful substance in a drink. Erick Limmer, 26, was convicted of being an accessory to manslaughter after the fact, mixing a harmful substance in a drink, delivery of marijuana, and possession of GHB.
In March 2000, the three younger men were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and Limmer was sentenced to up to five years in prison. It is possible that they will all be released within about five years.
The case was watched closely by authorities, and in response to public outcry over Samantha Reid’s death, Congress banned the substance in April 2000. At the same time, President Clinton signed the Hillary J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date Rape Drug Prohibition Act into law. The law also commemorates Farias, a 17-year-old high-school senior from La Porte, Texas, who died from a GHB overdose after someone slipped it into her soda.

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