The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced the designation gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) as a temporary narcotic, which is an ingredient of Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) known as a date-rape drug and also commonly called ‘mulpong.’
“GBL turns quickly into ‘mulpong’ in the body and causes unconsciousness and respiratory inhibition. It is often misused in sex crimes,” said the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Wednesday, designating GBL as a temporary narcotic.
The Dong-A Ilbo reported in November that GBL turns into GBH in the body and has a bigger effect than GBH but its use for sex crimes goes unpunished under the Narcotic Control Act as it is not designated as a narcotic. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety temporarily designated it as a narcotic as a follow-up measure.
With the new announcement, a person engaged in the manufacture, export and import, trade, arrangement of trade, or receipt of GBL will be subject to imprisonment for an indefinite term or for not less than five years according to the Narcotic Control Act. As GBL was previously registered as a raw material for ‘mulpong,’ it was only punishable when a person manufactures GHB with it and it was not subject to punishment when feeding it to someone even if it has the same effect. The U.S., the U.K., and Germany punish in case GBL is used on humans. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will designate GBL as a temporary narcotic for three years and review whether to officially designate it as a narcotic under the Enforcement Decree of the Narcotics Control Act.
However, the ministry made an exception for industrial GBL as the ingredient is used to wash off the paint on industrial sites. “As GBL has various uses, such as a solvent for the manufacturing of electronic devices and an ingredient for industrial resins, it is not considered a temporary narcotic if used for industrial purposes,” said the ministry.