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More than a fifth of sexual assault cases are drug facilitated

A report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed that over 20 % of 882 sexual assault cases studied by a group of Canadian researchers were drug-facilitated. Also according to the report, victims of the drug-facilitated assaults were likely to reside in a big, to be employed, to have taken over-the-counter medicines, illicit drugs, and alcohol prior to the assault.

The study, which is a collaboration project between researchers from the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre and the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, made use of data gathered from seven hospital-based treatment centres of the above-mentioned Ontario-based network.

From their data, the researchers found that 30% of sexual assault victims used or abused prescription drugs and illicit drugs within 72 hours before they were assaulted. In addition, almost 90% drank alcohol immediately before the incident.

“These types of substances have pharmacologic properties that can alter states of consciousness and lower inhibitions, especially when used simultaneously with alcohol and in their own right may be used to spike drinks. As such, victims could have unwittingly ingested a “date rape drug,”” although the combination of alcohol and drugs could also result in incapacitation,” explained Dr. Janice Du Mont of the how drugs and alcohol can contribute to sexual assault.

In their conclusion, Du Mont and her co-authors wrote that public awareness campaigns and education programs on the effects of alcohol and drugs, particularly when combined, are necessary in the fight to end sexual assaults.

Dr. Bernadette Butler and Dr. Jan Welch of the King’s College Hospital, London gave a commentary related to the issue. According to them, it is important for clinicians to care and attend to victims of sexual assault in a non-judgmental manner. “It is important to recognize the possibility of drug-facilitated sexual assault and provide the necessary therapeutic care while addressing forensic issues when possible, including evidence collection and documentation,” the two wrote.

Like the Canadian researchers, Butler and Welch also push for the education of women and men regarding their risks as potential victims or possible assailants and on the various biological responses to drugs and alcohol.

Lower inhibitions, altered consciousness, and incapacitation are only some of the effects of alcohol and drug use or abuse and becoming a victim of sexual assault is only one of the consequences of such effects. Alcohol use and drug use can costs you your life in more ways than you can think of.

Miramar Recovery Center understands addiction and we are more than willing to help you or your loved one out of addiction. We offer holistic alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs conducted by highly trained professionals in a very conducive setting. Start your journey back to a normal life by calling our helpline today.

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