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Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault: Jessica Sexual assault includes any type of sexual activity to which an individual does not agree. Because of the effects of some drugs, commonly called date rape drugs, victims may be physically helpless, unable to refuse, or even unable to remember what happened. Jessica, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, expresses concern to the school nurse practitioner that she knows someone who might have had sex “without knowing it.” How can the nurse practitioner answer these common questions? Reflective


  1. What are date rape drugs and how can a person be unaware that such a drug has been ingested?
  2. What can you do to protect yourself?
  3. What do you do if you think you have been sexually assaulted?
  4. What can you do when someone you care about has been sexually assaulted?
  5. What role does a nurse practitioner play in the care of sexually assaulted patients, particularly in the adolescent age group
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Sample Answer

Drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) is a serious crime that can have lasting physical, emotional, and psychological consequences for the victim. It is important for the nurse practitioner to be able to answer common questions about DFSA in a way that is both informative and supportive.

Here are some common questions that Jessica might ask:

  • What are date rape drugs?
  • How do date rape drugs work?
  • How can I prevent myself from being drugged?
  • What should I do if I think I have been drugged?
  • What if I don’t remember what happened?

Full Answer Section

The nurse practitioner can answer these questions in a way that is clear, concise, and sensitive to Jessica’s feelings. They can also provide information about resources that are available to help victims of DFSA, such as counseling and support groups.

Here are some specific things that the nurse practitioner can say:

  • “Date rape drugs are drugs that are used to make someone unable to resist sexual assault. They can be slipped into a victim’s drink or food without their knowledge.”
  • “Date rape drugs can cause a variety of symptoms, including drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. They can also cause memory loss.”
  • “There are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from being drugged. Be careful about accepting drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave your drink unattended. And if you think you’ve been drugged, get help immediately.”
  • “If you think you have been drugged, it’s important to go to the hospital. They can do a toxicology screening to see if you have any drugs in your system. They can also provide medical care if you need it.”
  • “If you don’t remember what happened, it’s important to talk to someone you trust. A counselor or therapist can help you process what happened and start to heal.”

The nurse practitioner can also offer to be a resource for Jessica and to help her connect with other resources that may be helpful. It is important to create a safe and supportive environment where Jessica feels comfortable talking about what happened.

It is also important to remember that everyone reacts to DFSA differently. Some people may feel angry, scared, or violated. Others may feel confused or ashamed. It is important to be patient and understanding as Jessica works through her feelings.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of DFSA, there are resources available to help. Please reach out for help. You are not alone.

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