Detection of synthetic cathinones in victims of sexual assault

Kiara S. Hagan, Lisa Reidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) can be defined as sexual activity occurring whereby the victim is incapacitated by drugs and/or alcohol and thereby unable to consent. A new wave of designer drugs is emerging in the community at large and one group, the synthetic cathinones, is described in this study. Analyzing urine samples from reported sexual assaults submitted to the University of Miami Toxicology Lab in 2013 determined that methylone has become a popular drug encountered in these cases. Derivatization of these synthetic cathinones enabled a validated a qualitative method to identify ten different designer drugs. Of the forty-five sexual assault samples submitted, 13% were positive for synthetic cathinones without any toxicological finding of ethanol, GHB or ketamine. This study illustrates the recent correlation of drug-facilitated sexual assaults and the use of synthetic cathinones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalForensic Science International
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Drug-facilitated sexual assault
  • Forensic science
  • Forensic toxicology
  • GC-MS
  • Synthetic cathinones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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