Drug-facilitated sexual assault in Ontario, Canada: toxicological and DNA findings

J Forensic Leg Med. 2010 Aug;17(6):333-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2010.05.004. Epub 2010 Jun 15.


The purpose of this study was to determine which persons reporting sexual assault to a hospital-based treatment centre may have been covertly drugged and to provide information about whether a sexual assault may have occurred. Each consecutive adolescent and adult presenting at a sexual assault treatment centre was screened for drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA). Urine was collected and tested for central nervous system active drugs. Oral, vaginal, and/or rectal swabs were tested for male DNA. Unexpected drugs were defined as those not reported as having been voluntarily consumed within the previous 72 h. Positive swabs for unexpected DNA were determined by whether the person reported having had consensual intercourse in the previous week. A total of 184 of 882 eligible participants met suspected DFSA criteria. Mean age was 25.8 years (SD=8.5), 96.2% were female and 64.7% White. Urine samples were positive for drugs in 44.9% of cases, alcohol in 12.9%, and both drugs and alcohol in 18.0%. The drugs found on toxicological screening were unexpected in 87 of the 135 (64.4%) cases with a positive drug finding and included cannabinoids (40.2%), cocaine (32.2%), amphetamines (13.8%), MDMA (9.2%), ketamine (2.3%), and GHB (1.1%). Male DNA was unexpected in 30 (46.9%) of 64 cases where it was found. Among those persons presenting to a sexual assault treatment centre with a suspicion of DFSA, the presence of unexpected drugs and male DNA was common, lending support for their contention that they had been intentionally drugged and sexually assaulted. Most unexpected drugs found were not those typically described as 'date rape drugs'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications
  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cocaine
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • DNA / analysis
  • Female
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology


  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabinoids
  • DNA
  • Cocaine
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine