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International journal of legal medicine

Chemical submission: results of 4-year French inquiry.


PMID 18925406

Abstract

Psychoactive substances may be administered without the knowledge of a victim in order to induce incapacitation and thus facilitate criminal actions. The characteristics of the victims and the drugs used in such suspected chemical submissions (CS) were analyzed in 309 cases collected from October 2003 to December 2007 through a national survey. Out of 309 cases, 158 met all criteria of CS. The victims were mostly female (n = 89, 56%). The type of aggression was mostly sexual assault (in 79 cases 50%). Benzodiazepines and related drugs were detected in 129 victims (82%) and were mostly clonazepam, zolpidem, and bromazepam whereas flunitrazepam and gamma hydroxybutyrate, well known for their use in CS, were identified in 11 (7%) and five (3%) of the 158 victims. CS is not an anecdotal phenomenon in France. Information for health professionals and workers in forensic structures as well as education of the general population associated with preventive measures such as drug dosage form changes should contribute to improved care management of victims and decreased risk.