A case in south-eastern France: a review of drug facilitated sexual assault in European and English-speaking countries

J Clin Forensic Med. 2006 Jul;13(5):253-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jcfm.2005.11.013. Epub 2006 Mar 10.


Drug facilitated sexual assaults (DFSA) have been increasingly reported in the medical literature since the 1980s but their legal recognition is more recent, at least in Europe. From a case treated in south-eastern France, whose judicial consequences were known, it seemed of interest to carry out an international study of jurisprudence concerning this type of rape. While from the medical viewpoint the drugs used are well-known and their presence can be clinically verified, the legal consequences of their use in subsequent criminal prosecution is less clear-cut. Some European countries have no jurisprudence in this area, while others consider the use of drugs as an aggravating circumstance. In France, it was only in 2003 that the first case of DFSA was truly punished by the judicial system, with considerable media attention. By contrast, in English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, the use of drugs to facilitate sexual assault has frequently been recognized in legislation and in criminal prosecutions. Prevention is fundamental and is recognised as demonstrated by campaigns in various countries.

Publication types

  • Legal Case
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Benzodiazepines / blood
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Rape / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Benzodiazepines