Analytical protocol for the screening of psychotropic/incapacitating drugs in alleged drug-facilitated crimes

Sabina Strano Rossi*, Sarah Vecchio, Sara Odoardi, Luca Anzillotti, Marcello Chiarotti, Giovanni Serpelloni, Carlo Locatelli

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


The phenomenon of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assaults (DFSA), has dramatically raised in the past decades, also due to the high number of drugs that can potentially be used. Analytical methods able to detect a large number of drugs with high sensitivity are sought for the diagnosis of DFC. The aim of the present study was the development of an analytical protocol for the identification of a wide number of possible incapacitating substance in biological specimens for its application to alleged victims of DFC. The procedure involves the combination of ten analytical methods, performed by LC-MS/MS, GC–MS, GC-FID. The procedure allows the screening of about 200 drugs/metabolites in urine, blood and hair. The protocol is generally applied to urine samples. Hair analysis is performed in cases where more than 48 h elapsed from the suspected administration; a blood sample is analysed only when less than 12 h elapsed and urine is positive for one or more substance. For its preliminary evaluation, the protocol was applied to analyse biological samples collected on 120 victims of alleged DFSA. Ethanol and/or its metabolite ethylglucuronide was detected in 66% of cases; benzodiazepines and analogues (zolpidem) in 18%; other substances detected were cocaine (in 15 cases), cannabis (in 10 cases) MDMA (8 cases), antipsychotics, antihystaminics, antidepressants, antiepileptics and opiates. GHB was detected at a concentration greater than 10 µg/ml in urine only in one case. The results demonstrate the suitability of the protocol to detect substances potentially used to commit or to facilitate a DFC.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)100168-N/A
RivistaForensic Chemistry
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • Clinical toxicology
  • DFC
  • DFSA
  • Drug testing
  • Forensic toxicology
  • High/throughput screening


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