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J Forensic Leg Med. 2013 Aug;20(6):777-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2013.05.005. Epub 2013 Jun 25.

Ethanol and drug findings in women consulting a Sexual Assault Center--associations with clinical characteristics and suspicions of drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 8905, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway. cecilie.hagemann@ntnu.no

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to describe toxicological findings among women seeking health care after sexual assault, and to assess the relationship with so-called proactive DFSA (drug facilitated sexual assault). We also explored associations between ethanol in blood/urine and background data, assault characteristics, and clinical findings. We conducted a retrospective, descriptive study of female patients ≥ 12 years of age consulting the Sexual Assault Center at St. Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway. They were examined between July 1, 2003 and December 31, 2010, and urine and/or blood were analyzed for ethanol and selected medicinal/recreational drugs. Among the 264 patients included, ethanol and/or drugs were detected in 155 (59%). Of the 50 patients (19%) testing positive for drugs other than ethanol, benzodiazepines/benzodiazepine-like drugs were found in 31, central stimulants in 14, cannabinoids in 13 and opioids in nine. None tested positive for gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). In total, 57 patients (22%) suspected proactive DFSA, but only five had findings of sedative drugs that were not accounted for by self-reported voluntary intake. No cases could unequivocally be attributed to proactive DFSA. Among the 120 patients tested for ethanol within 12 h after the assault, 102 were positive. The median estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of assault was 1.87 g/L. Patients testing positive for ethanol more often reported a public place of assault and a stranger assailant. Higher estimated BAC at the time of assault was associated with higher frequency of suspecting proactive DFSA. Ethanol was the most prevalent toxicological finding in urine/blood from victims of sexual assault, and high ethanol concentrations were often detected. Among the patients suspecting proactive DFSA, very few had sedative drug findings not explained by voluntary intake. It seems like opportunistic DFSA, rather than proactive DFSA dominate among the sexually assaulted attending our SAC.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; Date rape drugs; Drug-facilitated sexual assault; Forensic service; Sexual assault center; Toxicological findings

PMID:
23910880
DOI:
10.1016/j.jflm.2013.05.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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