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UIC Study Throws Light On Sexual Assaults

According to a novel study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, it was found that nearly 62% of sexual assaults happened after the victim was drugged// and in 5% of the cases, the victims were given ‘date-rape’ drugs. An 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, said Adam Negrusz, associate professor of forensic sciences in the UIC College of Pharmacy.

Negrusz, lead author of the study titled "Estimate of the Incidence of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault in the U.S.," said individuals who use drugs, with or without alcohol, are thought to be at a significantly higher risk for sexual assault.

"In some cases the substances are taken voluntarily by the victims, impairing their ability to make decisions," Negrusz said. "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."

In about 80 percent of the cases the victim knows the assailant, he said, "while only 20 percent of sexual assaults are opportunistic."

The study, funded by the National Institute of Justice, can be accessed via the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at www.ncjrs.gov

The study collected data from 144 subjects who sought help in clinics located in Texas, California, Minnesota and Washington state. The subjects were from all ethnic backgrounds and ranged in age from 18 to 56, with a mean age of 26.6.

Each clinic was provided with sexual assault kits and asked to enroll willing sexual assault complainants. Subjects provided two urine samples and a hair specimen and completed a questionnaire that asked them to describe the assault and any drugs they were using. "The urine and hair specimens were analyzed for about 45 drugs that have either been detected in sexual assault victim
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