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The importance of a urine sample in persons intoxicated with flunitrazepam: legal issues in a forensic psychiatric case study of a serial murderer
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology and Organisation Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8562-5610
(Criminal Investigation Department at the South Stockholm Violence Unit, Stockholm)
Örebro University.
Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Gothenburg.
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2003 (English)In: Forensic Science International, ISSN 0379-0738, E-ISSN 1872-6283, Vol. 137, no 1, 21-27 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The sedative–hypnotic benzodiazepine flunitrazepam (FZ) is abused worldwide. The purpose of our study was to investigate violence and anterograde amnesia following intoxication with FZ, and how this was legally evaluated in forensic psychiatric investigations with the objective of drawing some conclusions about the importance of urine sample in a case of a suspected intoxication with FZ. The case was a 23-year-old male university student who, intoxicated with FZ (and possibly with other substances such as diazepam, amphetamines or cannabis), first stabbed an acquaintance and, 2 years later, two friends to death. The police investigation files, including video-typed interviews, the forensic psychiatric files, and also results from the forensic autopsy of the victims, were compared with the information obtained from the case. Only partial recovery from anterograde amnesia was shown during a period of several months. Some important new information is contained in this case report: a forensic analysis of blood sample instead of a urine sample, might lead to confusion during police investigation and forensic psychiatric assessment (FPA) of an FZ abuser, and in consequence wrong legal decisions. FZ, alone or combined with other substances, induces severe violence and is followed by anterograde amnesia. All cases of bizarre, unexpected aggression followed by anterograde amnesia should be assessed for abuse of FZ. A urine sample is needed in case of suspected FZ intoxication. The police need to be more aware of these issues, and they must recognise that they play a crucial role in an assessment procedure. Declaring FZ an illegal drug is strongly recommended.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göttingen: Elsevier, 2003. Vol. 137, no 1, 21-27 p.
Keyword [en]
Flunitrazepam; Violence; Anterograde amnesia; Forensic analyses; Forensic psychiatry; Urine sample
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-4973DOI: 10.1016/S0379-0738(03)00273-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-4973DiVA: diva2:581258
Projects
Dyslexi bland rättspsykiatriskt undersökta män: Psykologiska, sociala och biologiska indikatorer
Available from: 2012-12-30 Created: 2012-12-30 Last updated: 2015-02-04Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttp://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.server.hv.se/science/article/pii/S0379073803002731

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