Today, Stephen Kayongo, Toxicology Casework Team Lead at LGC, appeared on This Morning’s regular ‘Crime Week’ to provide expert opinion during a feature on drink spiking. Drink spiking is strongly linked to drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), which refers to the use of a drug, noxious substance or chemical agent to facilitate sexual contact. It is not a new crime; in the UK offenses relating to the use of illegal substances to facilitate sexual assault to date to 1861. Desirable agents for this purpose include Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine. These drugs produce sedative and hypnotic effects to alter the victim’s behaviour and cause antegrade amnesia, so that the victim has no recollection of events.
In order to determine the role of alcohol in DFSA, ITV conducted a controlled experiment to demonstrate the relationship between alcohol consumption, behaviour and drink spiking. Stephen Kayongo, alongside former police officer, Sue Hill, noted that as party-goers were consuming more alcohol they were less wary of their drinks, making it easier for actors to go around and ‘spike’ them. The number of drinks the actors were able to spike gradually increased throughout the night. Kayongo‘s central point was that when you consume alcohol you are less aware of your surroundings and hence less able to take care of yourself.
In 2005, Fiona Perry, Senior Reporter in Toxicology at LGC alongside Michael Scott-Ham, identified alcohol as a considerable risk factor in DFSA in an article titled ‘Toxicological findings in cases of alleged drug-facilitated sexual assault in the United Kingdom over a 3 year period’. Fiona Perry examined 1014 cases of claimed DFSA. The results showed that of the 1014 samples examined, 659 contained alcohol and/or an illicit drug. Of these, 47 cases contained alcohol (with or without an illicit drug and 344 contained an illicit drug (with or without alcohol).
The number of complainants in which a sedative drug was found that could not be attributed to voluntary use was very low. Perry and Scott-Ham noted that of the 1014 cases of claimed DFSA, only 21 cases were attributed to involuntary ingestion of an illicit drug. This number included three cases in which the drug involved was Ecstasy, which is disinhibiting rather than sedative. Of deliberate spikings, alcohol was detected in 5 cases. The presence of alcohol could not be ruled out in most of the other cases, because samples were collected within 12 hours for only two of the incidents. However, the low number of individuals that took a sedative drug involuntarily does not necessarily reflect the true number of DFSA cases that have occurred.
Almost 10 years on, perhaps it would be a good time to review this type of crime from a toxicological background and compare findings. The toxicology department hope to be able to do this in the near future.
Both Kayongo and Perry identified alcohol as the considerable factor in DFSA type cases. LGC’s toxicology offerings are tailor-made to meet the needs of individual cases such as DFSA. This involves the analysis of a wide range of body fluid and tissue samples taken from minute tracings of drugs and interpretation of the results in the specific case circumstances. Click here to find out more about our toxicology services.
This Morning’s latest Crime Week launched yesterday, with the Home Secretary, Theresa May, in the studio to discuss falling crime rates and how the government is tackling issues including paedophilia, the grooming of children on the internet, the ‘luxury’ lifestyle of prisoners and the police force.
Click here to watch Stephen Kayongo on This Morning.
 Michael Scott-Ham, Burton Fiona C, ‘Toxicological findings in cases of alleged drug-facilitated sexual assault in the United Kingdom over a 3-year period’, Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine, 12, pp. 175-186