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Drugging suspected in majority of sex assaults, hospital study shows

More than half of sexual assault cases treated at the Ottawa Hospital in 2015 involved victims who suspected they’d been drugged, startling new research shows.

According to a study published earlier this month in the Emergency Medicine Journal, the team at The Ottawa Hospital’s sexual assault and partner abuse care centre reported 54 per cent of the patients they treated that year reported being drugged before they were assaulted.

The hospital surveyed 202 victims admitted for medical treatment following an assault, and classified 108 of those cases as “drug-facilitated.” 

Dr. Kari Sampsel, the centre’s medical director, said patients commonly report experiencing blackouts and memory loss they can’t explain.

“That is the most common thing that we hear. Someone says, ‘I had half a beer and I woke up 12 hours later and remembered nothing,” Sampsel said.

GHB, ketamine

Toxicology testing often reveals the victims were exposed to sedatives or other memory-impairing drugs including gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or ketamine, as well as more commonly available drugs such as Gravol.

The study is three years old, but Sampsel said drug-facilitated assaults continue to be a worrying problem.  

“Drug-facilitated sexual assault is something that is very common, and is going to continue to be common,” Sampsel said.

Read more: Drugging suspected in majority of sex assaults, hospital study shows

First published at http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/news/drugging-suspected-majority-sex-assaults-hospital-study-shows

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