n investigation by Buzzfeed News has found that date rape drug testing is notoriously unreliable and inconclusive, yet continue to be presented in courtrooms and by investigators as evidence. The end result, former prosecutors say, is that rapists are walking away free.
Buzzfeed reports on the broken, notoriously flawed system in place for the forensic toxicology of date rape drugs:
America’s system for date rape drug testing is riddled with flaws, according to a review of thousands of pages of lab manuals from every state across the country, as well as dozens of interviews with nurse examiners, toxicologists, law enforcement officials, advocates and lawyers. The testing equipment in some labs isn’t sensitive enough to detect substances at low concentrations, despite the fact that drugs break down quickly in the body, and it may be hours or even days before the victim has recovered sufficiently to report an assault. Other labs test only blood, even though evidence of drugs last much longer in urine, or don’t have the resources to test sexual assault cases at all.
And some labs rely entirely on a type of drug screen so notoriously fallible that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recommends that it never be used in drug-facilitated sexual assault cases — noting that “false negative results” caused by its “insufficiently sensitive methods” risk bringing investigations to a premature end.