Study: Most sexual assaults
STNG WIRE REPORTS
62 percent of sexual assaults were found to be drug
facilitated, and almost 5 percent of the victims were
given classic “date-rape” drugs, according to a new study
at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
estimated 100,000 sexual assaults are committed in the
United States each year, and the FBI says that number
could be three times higher if all cases were reported,
Adam Negrusz, associate professor of forensic sciences in
the UIC College of Pharmacy said in a release from UIC.
Negrusz, lead author of the study, said individuals who
use drugs, with or without alcohol, are thought to be at a
significantly higher risk for sexual assault.
some cases the substances are taken voluntarily by the
victims, impairing their ability to make decisions,"
Negrusz said in the release. "In other cases the
substances are given to the victims without their
knowledge, which may decrease their ability to identify a
dangerous situation or to resist the perpetrator."
about 80 percent of the cases, the victim knows the
assailant, he said, "while only 20 percent of sexual
assaults are opportunistic."
study, funded by the National Institute of Justice,
collected data from 144 subjects who sought help in
clinics in Texas, California, Minnesota and Washington
state, according to the release. Urine and hair specimens
were analyzed for about 45 drugs that have either been
detected in sexual assault victims or whose pharmacology
could be exploited for drug-facilitated sexual assaults,
Negrusz said in the release.
types of drug-facilitated sexual assault were identified:
presumed surreptitious drugging, or willful drug use by
According to Negrusz, 61.8 percent of the subjects were
found to have at least one of the 45 analyzed drugs in
their system; 4.9 percent tested positive for the classic
date-rape drugs, and 4.2 percent had been drugged without
the subject's voluntary drug use was queried, 35.4 percent
were likely to have been impaired at the time of the
sexual assault, the release said.
study demonstrated the need for toxicological analysis in
sexual assault cases," Negrusz said, noting the high
percentage of subjects who tested positive for drugs. "It
also demonstrated that sexual assault complainants
severely under-report their illegal drug usage."
study also confirmed that drug-facilitated sexual assault
is more often due to the subject's own drug use, he said,
rather than surreptitious drugging by the perpetrator.