Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA)

If you think you may have been drugged or experienced a drug facilitated sexual assault, voluntary drug testing is now available at the UCSC Student Health Center.

 


What is Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault?

Affirmative consent means that there is a conscious, freely given, and mutual agreement to engage in any type of sexual activity. Drug-facilitated sexual assault is when a perpetrator deliberately uses any type of alcohol and/or other drugs in order to compromise someone’s ability to consent because they are intoxicaed or incapacitated. If someone is incapacitated, they are not able to give affirmative consent, no matter the circumstance.

What are side effects of being drugged? 
  • This is tricky because if you have been drugged involuntarily, you may not know what substances you were given and how your body would react to them. Different individuals can have different reactions to the same substances, and side effects may depend on what else you ingested, whether you had eaten recently, or even your stress levels. Some physical symptoms that someone who has been drugged may experience include: 
    • Difficulty breathing 
    • Dizziness, disorientation and blurred vision
    • Nausea or vomiting 
    • Loss of control over your body 
    • Passing out
    • Waking up with no memories or missing memories from a prolonged period of time
    • Feeling drunk when you’ve had little to no alcohol 
    • Sudden change in body temperature (hot and cold)
    • Heart rate changes

If you are concerned about your experience of any of these symptoms, your health and safety is your first priority! Seek emergency medical care if needed. This test may be able to detect drugs that are still in your system, but you can also consult with your doctor about other health concerns. 

What are drugs that are used during DFSA? 

    • There are many substances that can be used to incapacitate someone. Some of the more common substances include “party drugs” like Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine. Perpetrators may also use prescription medications such as sleep aids, anxiety medication, muscle relaxers, and tranquilizers.

    • Alcohol is frequently used on its own or in combination with other substances and is the biggest risk factor for drug facilitated sexual assault. Involuntary drugging most frequently (though not exclusively) occurs in places where alcohol is prevalent, such as bars, clubs, and at parties.  

How does alcohol play a role in drug-facilitated sexual assault?

    • Alcohol is frequently used on its own or in combination with other substances and is the biggest risk factor for drug facilitated sexual assault. A study done in 2009 showed that 17.67% of sexual assaults on college campuses were drug facilitated or suspected drug facilitated, and 54.5% of all sexual assaults were alcohol enabled. There also seems to be a consensus that these rates have been increasing since 2000.

    • Involuntary drugging most frequently (though not exclusively) occurs in places where alcohol is prevalent, such as bars, clubs, and at parties. Regardless of where violence occurred, we want to be clear that it is never the survivor’s fault. 

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Testing for DFSA

How do I access testing?

There are two ways in which you can access testing for DFSA and each is dependent on your needs:

    • Option One: Order your own tests. You can self-order a drug test directly through your Health e-Messenger portal or by calling the Nurse Advice Line: (831) 459-2591. Given that there is a short time window, you do not have to speak with a doctor first unless you want to. The order will be sent directly to the Lab for testing.
      • To complete the order form:

        Go to your Health e-Messenger, click Messages on the menu, select new message, select Self Directed Drug Testing.

        Complete the questionnaire and submit

    • Option Two: Get support. If you’re not sure what tests to order or when to test, you can meet with a CARE advocate or talk to a nurse at Student Health Services by calling 831-459-2591.

When can I get tested?

    • Test results will be more accurate the sooner the sample is taken. This drug test can be accessed up to 72 hours after you suspect ingestion of substances. Many drugs commonly used to incapacitate someone are quickly metabolized and flushed from your system rapidly, so the first urine you pass will have the highest chance of detection.

What drugs will this panel test for?

    • There are 100+ drugs tested for on this panel, including party drugs (such as cocaine and heroin), prescription medications (including anxiety medications and muscle relaxers), and over the counter substances (such as Tylenol). The drugs most commonly used in DFSA - such as Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine - are included in the test.  

How much does it cost to get a drug test?

    • For students with UCSHIP, testing will require a co-insurance cost of $25. For students without UCSHIP, testing costs $168. Whether you have UC insurance or not, if this cost is prohibitive for you, you can still order the test then contact CARE (care@ucsc.edu) for support with financial resources.

Who will be notified of my test results?

    • The results of your test - whether substances are detected or not - are confidential between you and your doctor ONLY. Your parents, police, Title IX, or any other campus offices will NOT be notified about your order or test results.

How will I get my results back? 

    • The lab results will be sent to you through your Health e-Messenger. Results are typically available in 2-5 days after the sample is given. If there are any substances detected, a Student Health Center medical provider will contact you to talk through the results.

What if the test result is negative / does not indicate the presence of any drugs? 

  • We want to acknowledge that a negative test result should not invalidate your concerns and experiences, and a negative result does not mean that drugs were never in your system. Some results come back negative because a lot of drugs used to incapacitate someone metabolize in the body very quickly. This means that your body rapidly breaks down the chemicals in the drugs and flushes them out of your system. This is the main reason why the first urine sample is the most important - it contains those metabolized chemicals. 

If I took drugs knowingly, will I get in trouble if it is detected in the test? 

    • No, your test remains confidential. Even if drugs are detected and you ingested them knowingly, results will NOT be reported to police, Title IX, Student Conduct, or other disciplinary offices. 

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Reporting to Police

If I want to report to the police, can my test results be used as evidence? 

    • As a voluntary drug test, there is no chain of custody for the test sample. Therefore, your results CANNOT be used as evidence for prosecution in a legal case even if they indicate substances in your system.

    • If you are interested in filing a police report due to suspected drugging, there are other options available to you. If you experienced assault while you were incapacitated, a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) can collect forensic evidence and may test for drugs in your system. See below for more information about SAFE exams.

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Confidential Resources

What other resources are available if I suspect I have experienced DFSA?

    • If you have or suspect you have experienced sexual assault, there are other free and confidential options available. A Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) will address any medical needs and collect forensic evidence, and it may test for any drugs in your system. A SAFE exam can be done whether or not you choose to report to law enforcement. You can obtain a SAFE exam in Santa Cruz at Dominican Hospital. 

To speak with a confidential advocate about obtaining a SAFE, you can contact CARE at (831) 502-2273 or Monarch Services (888) 900-4232. If you are not in Santa Cruz, you can call the National Sexual Assault hotline at (800) 656-4673 to speak to a confidential crisis advocate in your area.

 

What resources are available to me after I’ve experienced violence?

    • Your safety and well-being is your first priority if you suspect you have been involuntarily drugged or experienced a DFSA. Get to a safe place and have a trusted friend with you if possible. 


      Emergency: If you have any urgent medical needs, it may be best to call 911 or get to the ER, especially if the impacted person is unconscious. We acknowledge that calling 911 may be a barrier for many students - and particularly those from BIPOC,  trans, and undocumented communities - but unfortunately Santa Cruz has limited resources or alternate options for emergency situations. 


      Medical: Non-emergency medical needs can be addressed by your primary care provider or the Student Health Center. If you are concerned you may have been sexually assaulted, you can obtain a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) at Dominican Hospital. See below for more info on SAFE exams.


      Support: CARE provides confidential support, advocacy, and healing programs for survivors. Contact us at care@ucsc.edu or (831) 502-2273. If calling after hours, leave a brief message with your name and a safe call-back number or other contact information. 

For after hours support, Monarch Services in Santa Cruz County has a 24/7 confidential crisis line available at (888) 900-4232. If you are outside of Santa Cruz, the National Sexual Assault hotline can connect you with an advocate in your area: (800) 656-HOPE.


CAPS provides all UCSC students with free mental health and wellness services, including individual counseling. Contact (831) 459-2628 to get connected. 


What does getting a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) entail?

    • SAFE is both a medical exam and a method of collecting forensic evidence. The evidence collected is colloquially known as a “rape kit.” It can include swabbing for DNA, photographing injuries, and addressing any medical concerns. You can get a SAFE whether you choose to make a report to law enforcement or not. Exams can be done up to 10 days after an experience of assault, and are free of charge to you. A confidential advocate can accompany you through the process. 

For more information about forensic exams, see here on our website or contact a confidential advocate at CARE: (831) 502-2273 or at Monarch Services: (888) 900-4232.

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Preventing DFSA

What can I do to prevent DFSA in our community?

    • As UCSC community members, we all have a responsibility to prevent violence and show support for survivors. When in social situations, be an active bystander and speak up if you see predatory behavior. CARE’s peer education team can provide more training and resources on how to safely intervene and prevent violence.

    • It’s also important to show support for survivors and discourage victim blaming. Sexual violence is never the survivor’s fault, and if someone is incapacitated, they cannot give affirmative consent. If a friend thinks they have been given drugs involuntarily or experienced a DFSA, validate their feelings and help them get connected to resources.

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