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Estimate of the Incidence of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault in the U.S., Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2005
207 pages
This study was designed to provide an improved estimate of the rate of drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) and to examine the social aspects linked to it.
In a DFSA, the victim ingests a substance that weakens resistance to and perhaps even consciousness of a subsequent sexual assault. In some cases, victims voluntarily consume the substance, impairing their ability to make decisions. In other cases, the substances are surreptitiously given to victims. The substances involved in DFSA may cause unconsciousness, memory impairment, or a weakening of the victim's decisionmaking ability. The study collected data from 144 subjects enrolled in clinics located in Texas, California, Minnesota, and Washington State. Each clinic was provided with sexual assault kits and asked to enroll willing sexual assault complainants. Subjects provided two urine specimens and a hair specimen and completed a questionnaire that solicited a description of the assault and any drugs they were using. The three specimens were analyzed to assess the self-reporting of illegal drugs and the number of drugs found in the subjects. Results of the analysis were combined with the subject's account of the assault to assess whether DFSA was a possibility. Targeted drugs were found in 61.8 percent of the subjects, with 4.9 percent showing positive for the classic "date-rape" drugs. Researchers determined that 4.2 percent of the subjects had been victims of DFSA via surreptitious drugging. When the subject's voluntary drug use was included, 35.4 percent of the subjects were estimated to have been drug-impaired at the time of the sexual assault. 57 tables and 195 references

Date Published: June 1, 2005