The epidemiology of drug facilitated sexual assault

J Clin Forensic Med. 2006 May;13(4):181-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jcfm.2006.02.005. Epub 2006 Mar 31.


The files of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine were reviewed for all cases of alleged drug facilitated sexual assault for the 12 month period concluding in April 2003. Seventy-six cases were identified from a total of 434 (17.5%) cases of adult sexual assault. The median delay from alleged incident to time of examination was 20 h. Alcohol consumption in the hours prior to the assault was reported by 77%. Alcohol was still present in 37% when subsequently examined, with an average blood alcohol concentration of 0.11% at the time of examination. Forty-nine percent reported using prescription medications and 26% reported the use of recreational drugs. Drugs not reportedly consumed by the subject were detected in 15 cases (20%) of the study group or 3% of all adult sexual assault cases. The drugs detected included cannabis (four cases), antidepressants (4), amphetamines (3), benzodiazepines (4) and opiates (3). The study indicates that covert administration of drugs in the setting of adult sexual assault appears uncommon. The true incidence however may be higher (due to non or delayed reporting) or lower (due to inaccurate self reporting of drug consumption) however the frequent findings of high concentrations of alcohol has implications for the health and safety of these individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Incidence
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Rape / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Victoria / epidemiology


  • Illicit Drugs