Knock-out drugs: Narrow window for detection

May 29, 2009

Drug-facilitated sexual crimes are increasing. The Bonn Institute for Forensic Medicine has recorded that the number of examinations on the use of intoxicants in sexual offences within their catchment area increased 10-fold between 1997 and 2006. In the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Burkhard Madea and Frank Musshoff present the modes of action and the detection windows for the most frequent substances (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106 (20): 341-347).

Many substances can be used as knock-out drugs, for example alcohol and liquid ecstasy. However, the most important are benzodiazepines and other hypnotics, which can act within 10 minutes. The victims report disturbed perception, a dazed feeling, nausea, disinhibition and lack of willpower. This was often followed by loss of consciousness for several hours, so that the victim could not remember the incident. It is often difficult to detect knock-out drugs, as they are rapidly broken down by the body. Benzodiazepines can be detected in the blood for a maximum of 24 hours and liquid ecstasy for only 8 hours.

For this reason, if the administration of knock-out drugs is suspected, 100 mL urine and at least 10 mL blood should be taken as quickly as possible. If the interval between the incident and the medical examination is longer, a hair sample should be taken. This can be done up to 4 weeks after the incident. Involuntarily taken drugs are only detected in routine testing after 2% of offences.

More information: www.aerzteblatt.de/v4/archiv/pdf.asp?id=64721

Source: Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

Explore further: Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chinese slimming capsules

Apr 08, 2009

Taking herbal food supplements is certainly not free of risk. Since 2005, the poison emergency centers in the German cities of Freiburg and Göttingen have registered a total of 17 patients with health problems after taking ...

Smokers suffer more back pain

Jul 01, 2008

Smokers suffer more chronic back pain. This was the result of the analysis of a questionnaire performed by Monique Zimmermann-Stenzel and her colleagues and published in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch ...

More than 20 percent of sexual assaults drug-facilitated

Mar 02, 2009

More than 20% of sexual assaults in a sample of 882 victims were drug-facilitated sexual assaults, found a new study published in CMAJ. Victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault were more likely than others to present to a l ...

Alcohol is a strong trigger of criminal violence

Dec 22, 2005

A study at Karolinska Institutet of 133 violent offenders in Sweden shows that 78 (58%) had consumed alcohol within 24 hours before the violent act. A large majority of the offenders were men with psychiatric ...

Recommended for you

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

16 hours ago

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

17 hours ago

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments : 0