“Don’t fall asleep”: an alert campaign on the risk of “chemical submission” in the private sphere

Home “Don’t fall asleep”: an alert campaign on the risk of “chemical submission” in the private sphere
Written by Doug Hampton

the essential
While many people, mainly women, are drugged every year without their knowledge by a loved one who takes advantage of them, a communication campaign to prevent these attacks was launched on Monday 22 May.

They evoke memory lapses, great fatigue, but struggle to understand why: every year many people, especially women, are drugged without their knowledge by a relative, who often takes the opportunity to sexually assault them, denounce activists across a communication campaign launched this Monday, May 22.

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If the dangers of the “rape drug”, poured by a stranger into a glass during an evening in a disco, have been widely publicized in recent years, the “chemical submission in the private sphere” is on the other hand still little known and under -estimated in France, say the initiators of the “M’endors pas” movement.

“The majority of victims are unaware of each other,” Caroline Darian, one of the leaders of this campaign, told AFP. She herself discovered that her father had drugged her mother for 10 years, to abuse her and “deliver” her, unconscious, to other men. He is currently in pre-trial detention.

Dyes added to products to identify them

“My mother saw three neurologists, they did scans, but no toxicological analysis”, says Ms. Darian, for whom the public authorities must take more action on this subject, in particular to better train doctors to detect such cases, and to help victims file complaints.

Mainly based on complaints, the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) has been identifying each year since 2003 the molecules used by the aggressors and their modus operandi.

It can thus draw up proposals to limit diversion, for example by tightening the conditions for the delivery of certain medicines. She also sometimes had dyes added to some of them, to limit the risks, explains to AFP Dr. Leila Chaouachi, pharmacist at the Paris addictovigilance center (AP-HP) and responsible for this study.

727 cases in 2021

Each year, several hundred cases of “drug-facilitated aggression” are recorded: 539 in 2020, and 727 in 2021, details this expert. In the vast majority of situations, the abuser took advantage of the vulnerability of a person who had voluntarily used substances. But in 11% of cases we can speak of “likely chemical submission”, the victim being drugged without his knowledge, most often with sedatives, in particular anxiolytics and hypnotics.

It is the concomitance between a symptom and certain material elements that can lead the victim to wonder, underlines Ms. Chaouachi: “for example, I have had a blackout since dinner and I wake up naked”, she explains. .

The few dozen officially recorded cases probably represent only part of the reality. Especially since the filing of a complaint, always difficult in matters of sexual assault, is even more so when the victim suffers from amnesia or a “permanent doubt about what could have happened”.

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