Drug Policy

No Soap, GHB, or Why The Germs Shouldn't Mix with Dr. Bronner

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"'I've been using Dr. Bronner's for 35 years,' he said Tuesday, adding that the organic ingredients help give him the complexion of a 15-year-old girl."

More proof that the End Times are nigh: Rock stars (well, never-quite-made-it-as-such former junkie drummers of mythic punk bands) are being arrested for carrying soap!

Granted, it's a hemp-oil soap and the cops say the container was filled with a date-rape drug. But still…

From the LA Times:

[Don] Bolles, 50, whose real name is Jimmy Michael Giorsetti, said in an interview that he and his girlfriend were driving to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting Wednesday evening when police pulled over his 1968 Dodge van for a broken taillight.

Inside the vehicle, police found a toiletry kit containing denture glue, razors and a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap.

When a field test of the alleged liquid peppermint soap indicated it was GHB, a date-rape drug, Bolles was arrested on suspicion of felony narcotics possession…

The Germs, a trailblazing punk ban formed in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, are credited with influencing generations of musicians and popularizing mohawks. Bolles took his name from Arizona Republic journalist Don Bolles, who was killed in 1976 by a car bomb while investigating corruption….

But the idea of finding GHB in a Dr. Bronner's product is "beyond belief," Bronner said. "The field test must have been flawed or tampered with."

Is it possible Bolles was using the soap bottle to carry the drug?

No way, Bronner said. With a definitive test of the bottle's contents coming soon from the Orange County Crime Lab, "it would be ridiculous for Bolles to be lying," Bronner said.

Bolles, a onetime heroin addict…dismissed the idea that he would carry GHB. "A date-rape drug is the last thing I need," he said. "If anything, I need a way to keep the girls off of me. They make my girlfriend mad."

I hope Bolles is exonerated and it sounds like he should have checked out the Flex Your Rights video a long time ago–how do you go from a citation for a broken tail light to what sounds like a full-car search? At the same time, Dr. Bronner's faith in the truth-telling propensities of former heroin addicts and rock musicians is nothing short of, er, touching.

The whole soap opera here. Best line in the story? "'I've been using Dr. Bronner's for 35 years,' he said Tuesday, adding that the organic ingredients help give him the complexion of a 15-year-old girl."

Wonderful, scarifying, depressing, and exhilirating account of "the short life and fast times of Darby Crash and the Germs," partly authored by Bolles, here.

NEXT: Boston To Be Annexed By Moon

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  1. Any drugs that knocks somebody out is a date rape drug, apparently. Back in reality, we call them “downers.”

  2. That guy looks like Keith Richards and the lead singer from Four Non-Blonds illegitimate child. Even by aging punk star standards, he is seriously scary looking.

  3. Ever read the kooky new-agey labels on a Bronner product? They’re hilarious. Most of the soaps are a bit harsh for my skin, though.

  4. Im still trying to figure out how a traffic stop turned into the cops searching his travel kit. More, they started field testing stuff in the kit????

    HOW?? The media seems to have little answers for that…

  5. Kannabis-Because the police wanted to search his car. Despite the comments of the well-intentioned folks at Flex Your Rights, that’s usually more than enough.

  6. Stopped while driving a…1968 Dodge van….?!?!

    Thats just sad……if it was GHB he’s probably drinking it himself to help forget his shitty ride!

  7. The “protective sweep” rule is so broad that the police can basiclly search your car whenever they pull you over. Another wonderful example of our living Constitution. But even under that very broad rule, they only have a right to do a protective sweep of the car for weapons for the cop’s safety. They do not have a right to search and test the contents of the “magic soap” bottle based on a protective sweep. That means that the police either need to have probable cause to test the contents of the bottle or consent. They may have gotten consent. It is not clear from the posting. If they didn’t get consent, I fail to see how their is any probable cause to beleive that the magic soap container contained contraband. I really don’t see how this search stands absent consent.

  8. John-Because “Probable Cause” is the same as “I’m a cop and I want to test the shampoo.”

  9. how do you go from a citation for a broken tail light to what sounds like a full-car search

    I know that when I was in Florida the state SC upheld several cases where refusal to consent to a search = probable cause. Hence, Number6 is correct, if the cop wants to search the car, all he has to do is ask, your answer be damned.

  10. I will have to dig up said court cases and have them on-hand for next time this conversation comes up.

  11. Im still trying to figure out how a traffic stop turned into the cops searching his travel kit.

    Maybe he was piss-drunk on his way to AA…? That would probably have given them the excuse they needed.

    Anyway, I don’t get Nick’s “best line”. Clearly, the best line of the story was “I need a way to keep the girls off of me”.

  12. Dr. Bonner is still alive??? If anything ought to be on a list of controlled substances, it ought to be that soap. It will strip the flesh from your bones.

  13. When a field test of the alleged liquid peppermint soap indicated it was GHB, a date-rape drug, Bolles was arrested on suspicion of felony narcotics possession…

    Why were they chemically testing a bottle of soap?

    Maybe he was piss-drunk on his way to AA…? That would probably have given them the excuse they needed.

    They’d be trumpeting the DUI/DWI charge as loudly as they could, if he had been.

  14. Dr. Bonner is still alive??? If anything ought to be on a list of controlled substances, it ought to be that soap. It will strip the flesh from your bones.

    As the man says, “Dilute! Dilute! OK!”

  15. “Thats just sad……if it was GHB he’s probably drinking it himself to help forget his shitty ride!”

    Well, what would you be driving if you were date raping the gals from the local AA chapter? Besides, maybe it was one of those cool retro-custom vans, like on the cover of a Fu Manchu record.

    And one of the best parts of Decline & Fall of Western Civ is when Darby and his girlfriend are talking about the dead painter they found in the front yard.

  16. “What’s in the bottle, sir?”

    “What we do is secret.”

    “Secret, huh…”

  17. RE: Best line in the story. I’ve edited the post so that make sense. Reread it and I think you’ll agree with me, Rhywun.

  18. Kwix, I can’t speak to what the Florida courts have held, but the thesis that failure to consent to search equals probable cause could not possibly withstand federal appeal. The problem still (though who knows for how much longer) is not so much that constitutional rights have been diminished by the courts as that people do not assert their rights during police encounters. This video is well worth watching. (Yes, I read the disclaimers at the beginning, too.)

  19. Inside the vehicle, police found a toiletry kit containing denture glue…

    Yeah, that will keep the girls all over you…

  20. Around here, the people stopped for running a stop sign, or some other traffic violation, are always too stupid to put their stash under the front seat: “The pot, crack, etc. was right there on the dashboard, judge.”

  21. “Inside the vehicle, police found a toiletry kit containing denture glue…

    Yeah, that will keep the girls all over you…”

    Don’t underestimate the power of being a musician. When I lived near Austin, I was constantly amazed at how many beautiful 20 something women would ignore normal looking men for some skinny dirty nasty looking guy with pieces of vomit in his beard because he was the back up base player for the “Bloody Farts” or some other fifth rate club band in Austin.

  22. The last time I checked (about 5 years ago) there had been no recorded cases of GHB actually being used as a date rape drug.

    Most people take ghb for the same reason they take other drugs: because it fucks you up.

  23. Travis,

    What exactly does GHB actually do to you? If it just knocks you out, that sounds like a pretty lame high. I have often wondered about the media stories about it. It is way to common for it to only be a date rape drug. I am as cynical as anyone, but even I will admit there just are not that many mad rapists out there.

  24. “”–how do you go from a citation for a broken tail light to what sounds like a full-car search? “””

    It’s all about “consent” and it usually goes something like this.

    Cop: Do you have any weapons or drugs in the car?

    Driver: No

    Cop: Do you mind if I take a look?

    Scenario 1

    Driver: Uh, ok.

    Scenario 2

    Driver: No thanks

    Cop: Well I call a dog and you will have to wait until that unit arrives and that may take awhile.

    Driver: Go ahead.

    You can say no, and they can harrass you for that decision. That goes to another Reason article about the right to be harrassed.

  25. Any drugs that knocks somebody out is a date rape drug, apparently.

    Like alcohol?

  26. Per the bottle: “Dr. Bronner passed away peacefully on March 7th of 1997. The business continues to be run by the Bronner family with no break in continuity.”

  27. People who take GHB report that it is another psychoactive substance. They feel a little like they are drunk but without the physical debilitation.

    They don’t use it for raping dates so maybe smart folks should stop calling it the “date-rape drug”? Then we can promise that as soon as we find someone raping their dates with some new substance we’ll start calling _that_ the “date-rape drug”.

  28. I used to use Dr. Bronner’s soap back in my ’70s hippie days. I loved to read all the text they crammed onto the label, which seemed some sort of throwback to the bombastic packaging of 19th century quack medicines. Among the multitude of uses listed on the label was . . . mouthwash, if sufficiently diluted. So I tried it and guess what? You could dilute it as much as you wanted — you were still washing your mouth out with soap and it tasted like it.

    Given the mystical restorative properties of Dr. Bronner’s soap, I can only assume that Don Bolles was planning on squirting the bottle on Darby Crash’s grave. Hey, you never know . . .

    SxCx: Cute Germs ref there, if nobody else caught it.

  29. ghb + alcohol = blackout city

    i too am not into the ondcp and hope they are metaphysically fucked forever by the great fist of justice, but i’ve heard plenty of stories – gay and straight, etc – from folks who know/knew plenty about dope, including those who liked the ghb. i have no doubt that at least in some places it was used (and the frequency of blackouts indicates people were using too much and not measuring, though it may be a bit much to expect precision from scumbag rapist fuckfaces)

  30. hey’d be trumpeting the DUI/DWI charge as loudly as they could, if he had been.

    Yeah… I was just trying out a lame joke.

    Reread it and I think you’ll agree with me, Rhywun.

    Nice!

    Yeah, GHB is (was?) big in the gay scene. Or so I gathered from all the breathless reporting done about it. Never heard it referred to as a “date rape” drug – which isn’t surprising considering everyone was doing it willingly.

  31. GHB plus alcohol is a bad idea, but spiking a girls drink with it is hard as GHB tastes like a chemical solvent, very distinctive and hard to mask so, yeah its been used for bad stuff just as any other drug but over all the whole ‘date rape’ drug label is way overplayed…

  32. And Dr. Bronners rules!

  33. So everyone’s just going to ignore this part, as usual:

    “The Germs, a trailblazing punk ban formed in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, are credited with influencing generations of musicians and popularizing mohawks. Bolles took his name from Arizona Republic journalist Don Bolles, who was killed in 1976 by a car bomb while investigating corruption….”

    The Germs were indeed great. Trivia: Like many destitute early LA punkers, Darby Crash lived at various times on Beck’s mom’s couch. She was like the Den Mother of LA Punk.

  34. Has anyone considered the possibility that there’s GHB in Dr. Bronners? Maybe that’s the source of all the magic! I just may have to down a few shots when I get home tonight…

  35. Not knowing anything what GHB looks like, I can imagine if they squirted out a little bit from the bottle and it didn’t seem shampoo-like that could be the basis for further inspection.

  36. Dr Bronner’s Peppermint Brain Wash- I didn’t know it was still around. Girls think it makes you smell delicious! Or it seemed to, thirty-some-odd (some more odd than others) years ago.

  37. Not knowing anything what GHB looks like, I can imagine if they squirted out a little bit from the bottle and it didn’t seem shampoo-like that could be the basis for further inspection.

    So, is it “realistic” (grumpily or otherwise) for cops to stop cars and evaluate any liquid soap they find?

  38. What kind or “Rockstar” drives a forty-year-old van with a broken tail light?

  39. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out liquid soap contained small amounts of gamma-hydroxybutyrate, considering that it and its cyclic version, gamma butyrolactone, is widely distributed in nature. I could easily believe it forming as a minor breakdown product of soaps, say by addition of water across a double bond by microbial action.

    I recommend the cyclic version, GBL as in all ways superior to the linearized one, GHB; they interconvert int the body anyway. GBL tastes something like bourbon (and is a minor constituent of wines and probably even more prevalent in whiskeys) and has a kick like alcohol but without some of the less pleasant effects of the latter.

  40. I came into this world like a puzzled
    panther
    Wanting to be caged
    But something stood in the way
    I was never quite tamed

    I crossed the paths of right and wrong
    And saw them take their toll
    I saw armies that marched
    And like animals they crawled

    Evolution is a process too slow
    To save my soul
    But I’ve got this creature on my back
    And it just won’t let go

    If I am only an animal
    Then I can do no wrong
    But they say something better
    So I’ve gotta hold on

  41. …and vice-versa.

    Broken tail-light = prima facie evidence for sodomy. Lubricant discovered in car. Closed case.

  42. Not knowing anything what GHB looks like, I can imagine if they squirted out a little bit from the bottle and it didn’t seem shampoo-like that could be the basis for further inspection.

    The question is, why were they squirting it out of the bottle in the first place?

  43. Maybe they handled the bottle too much and it just, umm, shot out the stuff?

  44. The cop obviously had him caught in his eye.

    I was going to make a GHB – GBH joke, but I will spare all of you that.

  45. Don is my friend, I’d pick him up hitchhiking anytime! I’m glad he finally got a car – one big enuf to sleep in!

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