What is alcohol or other drug-facilitated sexual assault?

Alcohol or other drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) can occur when alcohol or other drugs are used to compromise or incapacitate an individual. This may result in lowered inhibitions, reduced ability to resist, and inability to remember details of an assault.

Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Feeling drunk after consuming little or no alcohol
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Blurred vision
  • Memory loss

What substances can be used to facilitate sexual assault?

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug for sexual assault.  Other drugs may include rohypnol, GHB, GBL, ketamine, and MDMA.

What does consent mean?

  • Wake Forest University policy defines consent as “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. For example, a person consents to sexual activity if/when they give permission for the activity to occur or agree to engage in the activity. Consent is unambiguous, informed, active (not passive), voluntary (freely given), mutually understandable words and/or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in the sexual activity.”

If you think you were drugged and/or sexually assaulted

First, get to a safe place.

If you need a ride at night, see Ride the Wake

Know you have an advocate

  • The University Safe Office is a free and confidential resource that can provide support, accompaniments, and assist students in navigating reporting options. 24/7 Confidential Helpline 336.758.5285.

Next, it’s recommended to get health care at the nearest hospital emergency room.

Be sure to inform health care providers about sexual assault and/or suspected drugging so they can order appropriate tests. 

  • In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. See Emergency/After Hours
  • Students will be eligible for Medical Amnesty when it is determined that they sought medical assistance for themselves or others in a proactive manner related to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs.

Lastly, reporting is your choice

Drug-facilitated sexual assault is a crime. It’s illegal to drug another person without their knowledge or consent.

You may report to law enforcement and/or to Wake Forest, but you don’t have to — it’s your choice.  Criminal conduct can be reported to law enforcement and policy violations to the University. The University does not prosecute crimes (law enforcement does that). Some conduct is both a crime and University policy violation (for example, sexual assault) and you have the choice to report to law enforcement and/or the University in those cases. You may also choose to report to neither and instead seek confidential assistance.

  • You can have an exam and treatment at the hospital without reporting. 
  • The University Safe Office is a free and confidential resource that can provide support and assist students in navigating reporting options. 24/7 Confidential Helpline: 336.758.5285
  • You can report a crime to Wake Forest University Police Department at 336-758-5591 or the Winston-Salem Police Department at 911.
  • You can report a policy violation to the Title IX office. Title IX is a non-confidential resource.
  • Seek help for any psychological and emotional effects, as desired. Free and confidential crisis intervention, support, and advocacy are available on campus.

You are not to blame

It is important to remember that it is never someone’s fault for being sexually assaulted, regardless of whether they take these steps or not.

As stated by RAINN, “Many survivors have strong feelings of self-blame after drug-facilitated sexual assault. They may feel that their choice to drink or to use drugs put them in a dangerous situation that led to the assault. It’s important to remember that if a sexual assault occurs under these circumstances, it is still not your fault. When you choose to use drugs or alcohol, you are not choosing to be sexually assaulted. The blame for this crime falls ONLY on the perpetrator.”


Drug-faciliated Sexual Assault by RAINN 

Drug-facilitated Sexual Assault by the UHS Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration


A special thanks to University of Michigan for providing copy & resources in the creation of this page.

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