Many incidents of rape, molestation, unwanted sexual advances and assault under the influence of drug or alcohol can be commonly encountered amongst college students. In most cases, the perpetrator or offender is found under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, recent studies on sexual assault have revealed that the victim could be under the influence instead of the offender. This is known as drug-facilitated sexual assault.
In cases of drug-facilitated sexual assault, the victim is given alcohol or drugs to unlawfully gain consent to sexual activity. This helps the perpetrator to easily commit the crime as intoxication reduces the ability of the victim to resist or remember the assault.
In this regard, a recent study has revealed that the rise in number of sexual assaults in colleges can be attributed to the surge in prescription drug abuse among the students. According to a study published by University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions in the journal Addictive Behaviors in October 2016, “the responsibility for rape or any sexual assault always falls squarely with the perpetrator.” However, non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD), particularly anxiolytics/sedatives, can interfere with decision-making and physical coordination and can cloud the victim’s ability to recognize danger.
Anxiolytics or sedatives associated with regretted sex and sexual assaults
The researchers at Buffalo Research Institute studied the effects of NMUPD by college students, including opioid analgesics (such as Oxycodone), anxiolytics/sedatives (such as Xanax, Valium or Ambien) and stimulants (such as Adderall or Ritalin) to understand how abuse of prescription drugs by college students play a role in negative sexual events such as assault and regretted sex.
The study took into account 1,755 students among whom more than 500 reported NMUPD. Additional observation revealed that while more than 14 percent of the students who abused prescription drugs experienced regretted sex, 7.1 percent of female students were subjected to sexual assault. The study also mentioned, “Significantly, the only prescription drugs associated with regretted sex and sexual assault were anxiolytics/sedatives.”
Explaining the effects of prescription drugs, which can be equivalent to that of alcohol and other illicit drugs, the study has acknowledged that NMUPD is becoming a serious public health concern. There is an urgent need to educate students about the potential dangers of misusing prescription drugs.
Prescription drug abuse leading to life-threatening conditions
The rise in prescription drug abuse among college students can be attributed to various factors such as easy availability of drugs, willingness among peers to share, forceful negative influences, self-medication to combat stress and depression, and most importantly, the misconception of prescription drug abuse being safer than consuming other illicit drugs. Instead, these drugs, when abused can cause more harm than the damages by illicit drugs as the measured quantities of chemicals in them potentially alter the chemistry of the body in a systematic manner. However, in the case of illicit drugs, as they are non-formulated, they affect the body unsystematically.
Road to recovery
Besides sexual assault, another major consequence of prescription drug abuse is suicide. According to a Chinese study published in JAMA Pediatrics in August 2016, the risk of teen suicide has increased by three times due to opiate abuse. The rising need among the youth to self-medicate or get on a high has led to more health complications for those suffering and emotional imbalances between them and their families.
If you or your loved one is addicted to prescription drugs and is seeking treatment, you may contact the California Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline to get details about various prescription drug rehabs in California. You may also help someone in need by calling up our 24/7 helpline number (855) 738-2770 or chatting online with our experts to learn about the best drug rehab centers in California.