Alcohol the Real Date-Rape Drug, Study Says

Women who have lost control or consciousness due to excessive drinking have fueled what British researchers have termed the “urban legend” of drinks being spiked with so-called “date-rape” drugs, according to a new study.

The Telegraph reported Oct. 27 that Kent University researchers who studied 200 students found that many blamed their incapacitation on alleged spiking of drinks with drugs like Rohypnol or GHB when, in fact, they had drank to excess. Researchers concluded that many drinkers were in denial about their level of alcohol use and its debilitating effects.

Three-quarters of those surveyed cited drink spiking as a major risk in sexual assault — far more than saw the risk in being drunk, taking drugs, or walking alone at night. But police say there’s no evidence that rape victims are commonly drugged before attacks.

“Young women appear to be displacing their anxieties about the consequences of consuming what is in the bottle on to rumors of what could be put there by someone else,” said researcher Adam Burgess. “The reason why fear of drink-spiking has become widespread seems to be a mix of it being more convenient to guard against than the effects of alcohol itself and the fact that such stories are exotic — like a more adult version of ’stranger danger.’”

“We would be very interested in finding out whether the urban myth of spiking is also the result of parents feeling unable to discuss with their adult daughters how to manage drinking and sex and representing their anxieties about this through discussion of drink spiking risks,” added researcher Sarah Moore.

The study was published in the November 2009 issue of the British Journal of Criminology.

This summary has been revised to reflect the following the correction:

Correction, Oct. 30, 2009: The original version of this summary erroneously stated, “But police say there’s no evidence that rape suspects are commonly drugged before attacks.” This should have referred to rape victims. The error, which we regret, has been corrected; thanks to our readers for alerting us to the mistake.

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Alcohol the Real Date-Rape Drug, Study Says

Women who have lost control or consciousness due to excessive drinking have fueled what British researchers have termed the “urban legend” of drinks being spiked with so-called “date-rape” drugs, according to a new study.


The Telegraph reported Oct. 27 that Kent University researchers who studied 200 students found that many blamed their incapacitation on alleged spiking of drinks with drugs like Rohypnol or GHB when, in fact, they had drank to excess. Researchers concluded that many drinkers were in denial about their level of alcohol use and its debilitating effects.


Three-quarters of those surveyed cited drink spiking as a major risk in sexual assault — far more than saw the risk in being drunk, taking drugs, or walking alone at night. But police say there's no evidence that rape victims are commonly drugged before attacks.


“Young women appear to be displacing their anxieties about the consequences of consuming what is in the bottle on to rumors of what could be put there by someone else,” said researcher Adam Burgess. “The reason why fear of drink-spiking has become widespread seems to be a mix of it being more convenient to guard against than the effects of alcohol itself and the fact that such stories are exotic — like a more adult version of 'stranger danger.'”


“We would be very interested in finding out whether the urban myth of spiking is also the result of parents feeling unable to discuss with their adult daughters how to manage drinking and sex and representing their anxieties about this through discussion of drink spiking risks,” added researcher Sarah Moore.


The study was published in the November 2009 issue of the British Journal of Criminology.


This summary has been revised to reflect the following the correction:


Correction, Oct. 30, 2009: The original version of this summary erroneously stated, “But police say there's no evidence that rape suspects are commonly drugged before attacks.” This should have referred to rape victims. The error, which we regret, has been corrected; thanks to our readers for alerting us to the mistake.

Leave a Reply

Please read our comment policy and guidelines before you submit a comment. Your email address will not be published. Thank you for visiting Join Together.

Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>