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Arch Hellen Med, 23(3), May-June 2006, 254-259


Sexual assault under the influence of psychoactive substances

Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Sexual assault perpetrated on both women and men, while incapacitated by alcohol and or drugs, has drawn considerable attention during the past decade. A great number of difficulties surround the forensic and toxicological investigation of drug-facilitated sexual assaults. The vast number of drugs makes the toxicological analysis a time-consuming procedure. The delays in reporting, due to the psychological burden of the rape in combination with the amnesic effects of the drugs, enhance the problem. The administration of a single dose makes the toxicological investigation even more difficult as it requires extremely sensitive analytical methods. Clinical doctors must always keep in mind that psychoactive substances can be used for criminal purposes, including sexual assault. The early and appropriate examination of the victim and the early and proper collection of biological samples in such cases are critical for the clinical diagnosis, but also of paramount importance in the thorough investigation of the case and for prosecution of the perpetrator. The forensic and toxicological aspects of such cases are discussed and the Greek legislation on the subject is reviewed.

Key words: Psychoactive substances, Rape, Sexual assault, Toxicological investigation.

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