Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA)


Certain drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, have been called "rape drugs" because they can be used as weapons in sexual assault cases. The drugs are usually slipped into a person's drink without that person's knowledge or consent. When the drugs dissolve in the drink, they are colorless, odorless, and sometimes tasteless. You cannot tell that you are being drugged. Other substances -- prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, illegal drugs, recreational drugs, and "club drugs" -- can be used for the same purpose.

The drugs incapacitate you. They may make you feel drowsy, confused, physically weak, and/or unconscious. Some of the drugs can also have other serious side effects, such as causing your blood pressure to drop, breathing problems, or coma; they can even cause death.

The drugs may also affect your memory. When the drugs wear off, you may not be able to recall what happened to you.

The drugs are especially dangerous when they are mixed with alcohol and/or other drugs.

Some rapists use these drugs to overpower and incapacitate their victims and to facilitate a sexual assault. These crimes are called "drug-facilitated sexual assaults."

Below is a typical example of a "drug-facilitated sexual assault."

You are at a party, a club, or a social event. You are with people you know, people you believe you have no reason to fear. Someone secretly drops a drug in your drink. When the drug dissolves, it is colorless and odorless. It may also be tasteless. You cannot tell that you are being drugged. As you consume the drink, the drug takes effect. You are now in a weakened, helpless, or unconscious state. You cannot escape, resist, or even call out for help. You are sexually assaulted. When the drug wears off, you may not remember what was done to you, who did it, or whether anyone watched.

For more information, the Rape Treatment Center publishes materials on "Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault." To order, click here.

Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA)