Alcohol is by far the most dangerous ‘date rape drug’

This is taken from a really interesting blog article on The Guardian yesterday and you can read the full piece here.  The article was talking about some of the discussions surrounding products being developed to identify the presence of date rape drugs.  Because the liquid used to carry these drugs is invariably alcohol it then became a wider issue discussion:

Alcohol is such an integral part of our culture we frequently underestimate its potency. Among its toxic effects are memory impairment, which typically begins after just one or two drinks. Alcohol-induced blackouts are common among young, social drinkers. A study in 1999 found that 35% of trainees in a large paediatric residency programme in the US had experienced an alcohol-induced blackout. Another study in 1995 found a third of first–year medical students had experienced alcohol-induced amnesia. An investigation of 2,076 Finnish males found 35% had had at least one blackout in the previous 12 months.

Research suggests that alcohol-induced blackouts are even more common among university students. A 2002 study in the US surveyed 772 undergraduates asking them if they had ever awoken after a night of drinking unable to remember things that they did or places they had gone. Just over half of drinkers, 51%, reported blacking out and later learning that they had engaged in a range of activities they could not recall, including vandalism, unprotected sex and even driving.

Despite males in the survey drinking significantly more, men and women experienced an equal blackout rate, probably as a result of gender-specific differences in alcohol metabolism. Other investigations suggest that women may be more susceptible than men to milder forms of alcohol–induced memory impairments. In a subsequent study, 50 undergraduates who had experienced at least one blackout were interviewed. While the blackouts were deeply disconcerting to both men and women, women were far more likely (59%) to change their drinking habits after such an episode than men (25%).

While we may think we know our limits, alcohol metabolism is hugely variable and influenced by a range of factors, only some of which we control. Blood-alcohol content is strongly affected by the amount of food we have eaten prior to drinking, permeability of the gastric and intestinal tissues and body mass, among numerous other factors. Worse, alcohol reacts strongly with other drugs, particularly cannabis and benzodiazepines making blackouts far more likely. The latter is particularly problematic, as this drug type is the basis of many anti-anxiety and muscle-relaxant medication.

It is vital to remember that sexual activity with someone who cannot give informed consent is assault, regardless of the particular agent that rendered them incapacitated, and cannot be justified. Whether their becoming intoxicated is their own fault or someone else’s is irrelevant. The mentality that an inebriated victim is somehow “asking for it” should never be accepted.

While fears over exotic rape drugs might be unfounded, rape is all too common and alcohol frequently plays a role. Rather than fixating on unlikely scenarios of drink spiking, we might be better served by reexamining our collective relationship with alcohol and reinforcing the message that sex with someone incapable of giving consent is assault.

I wonder which one of the four key ‘benefits’ as identified within the Drinkaware drunken nights out report and described as  ‘escape’, ‘bonding and belonging’, ‘social adventures’ and ‘stories’ this would fit ……

7 thoughts on “Alcohol is by far the most dangerous ‘date rape drug’

  1. I can totally agree with this from personal experience. I have been raped a number of times during my addiction and every single time alcohol was involved and the guy got me drunk and kept buying me drinks till I went with him once at his house it was different and even if I was to drunk to barely move they didn’t care they would force themselves anyways. I have been through this way to many times to even count. Guys started to pick up that if they got me drunk enough I was free sex ( I have actually overheard guys say that while they are getting me drunk, lets get this girl drunk its free sex. Sometimes if I am coherent enough I may leave if I can but sometimes I just keep drinking, why I don’t know maybe to numb the fear of what I know is to come because I’ve already hit to point of no return in my drinking where I can’t make it home on my own. With no money and this most recent time no cellphone there weren’t many options. Once I had sobered up a bit (which you tend to do pretty quickly in a rape situation at least from my experience. I was always aware of a lot more then you would think yet frozen with inability to do anything about it or terrified I would get hurt more if I fought back (I have had that experience.). I froze till I could find a way out which sometimes did not happen until the next day. I’m lucky I have not been held for longer periods of time. My most recent experience I had a choice between staying with an unknown male who was raping me and sleeping outside. I choose to sleep outside. Mind you I didn’t sleep more wandered and tried to stay warm (thank goodness it wasn’t winter) until I could find a bus (I managed to find $3 luckily -easier to find money when your not intoxicated) and no clue where I was took the bus because I knew every bus ended up at a central hub and then got the bus to the ER. This time that happened there was a lot of rapid shots which I should have known better. I do no better I’ve been in this situation before but either way alcohol was a major factor in me being raped a number of times. Being in recovery my chances of being sexual assaulted have gone way done. Yes it could still happen but in the addiction world it was so normal it was almost expected.

    1. RecoveringPinkButterfly thank you for reading and commenting on my blog 🙂 Thank you also for sharing your experiences. I found myself getting angry as I read what you had written at the men who would do this to you and at the substance that makes it okay and normal to treat another human being in this way. So glad that you are in recovery now xx

      1. That would be a great way to turn your experiences into something positive in the future 🙂

  2. a long term goal would be to go back to school and become an art therapist. I am not sure how all that would work. But art has really helped me in my recovery and I want to be able to share that with others. Though there’s a lot of hoops to get through a big one being money.

    1. Just start taking the small steps on the path of this recovery journey and if that is what you want to do and be I believe that ‘what is for you won’t pass you by’ 🙂

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