for immediate release
March 14, 2003

N E W S   R E L E A S E

Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris reminds all citizens, especially young women, to be aware of the serious threat posed by individuals using "date rape" drugs.

In a case reported this week, an 18 year old student, visiting the area during her college Spring Break, was apparently sexually attacked by one or more young men she met at an Okaloosa Island nightclub. The victim was approached by a man who offered to buy her a drink. She accepted the drink, then remembers nothing until she was returned by taxicab to her hotel room several hours later. The case is under investigation. The victim was apparently sexually assaulted, but did not incur any serious physical injuries. She reported the incident almost two days later.

It is likely the victim was incapacitated with a drug that had been surreptitiously added to her beverage. Every year, primarily during the spring and summer Spring Break and tourist seasons, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office receives several reports in which individuals are injured or believed assaulted after ingesting a drink and suddenly passing out.

The drug most often associated with these incidents is gamma-hydroxy butyrate, commonly known as "GHB," "Scoop," "Goop," and several other slang names. The drug is popular for producing extreme intoxication similar to large amounts of alcohol. Accidental overdoses and adverse reactions can result in vomiting, convulsions, coma, and death.

Sherif Morris urges all citizens to closely guard their drinks, never to accept drinks from strangers, and to use a "buddy system" to look out for each others' welfare.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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