A legislative committee is considering a bill that would enhance the penalty for rapists who use substances to impair their victims.

Under the proposal, the use of any impairing substance would raise the penalty of rape and sexual assaults to an "aggravated" status. Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison.Sedating substances like alcohol, Rohypnol and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) can be used in combination or alone to involuntarily sedate individuals. The effects of the substances are impaired judgment, dizziness and confusion.

Jon Christensen, senior regional manager for the pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, commended Utah lawmakers Wednesday for considering such a bill.