Safety on college campuses has become a much-publicized issue, and rightfully so. Instances of rape and sexual assault are often reported on in the news and many college campuses are broadening their efforts to educate and prevent on campus sexual violence. In keeping with this, a group of researchers has determined that non-medical use of prescription medication was linked to instances of this type of criminal behavior in large numbers compared to any other drug besides alcohol. This is important information because many colleges, students and parents may be overlooking this connection.
After surveying 1,755 college students throughout the country, the investigative team from the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions found that 500 admitted to recreational use of prescription medications. Of these 500 students, 14% were a part of a sexual situation that they regretted. Among the female students in this group, 7.1% reported being sexually assaulted while under the influence of prescription medication. The study also asked students to specify which drugs they were taking when the abuse or unwanted sex took place. Both the females and males stated that they were misusing prescription sedatives like Xanax at the times of these incidents.
It is important that people understand that this study is not pointing fingers at those that have been abused after taking prescription medication. “The responsibility for rape or any sexual assault always falls squarely with the perpetrator,” explained Kathleen Parks, senior research scientist. However, students can protect themselves by refraining from abusing prescription sedatives. These drugs have the potential to cloud a person’s judgement, cause them to lose consciousness, or overdose – especially when paired with alcohol.
Studies like the ones conducted by Parks and her team serve to educate society and students about the dangers of all types of substances, even those seemingly less harmful. Illustrating the exact consequences associated with the misuse of prescription sedatives shows students concrete outcomes. This study, paired with the increased media attention of college rapes and assaults may serve to save many others from similar situations. The study will appear in the December issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.
If you have a loved one who has a prescription drug problem, contact us today for more information about successful treatment options.