In a similar fashion to alcohol, abuse of sedative/anxiolytic drugs on college campuses is closely related to incidents of sexual assault or regretted sex, a new study suggests.
The study of more than 1,700 students, conducted by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, found that of the more than 500 students reporting non-medical use of a prescription drug, more than 14% experienced regretted sex. Among women in that group, 7.1% reported being a victim of a sexual assault.
The drug categories that were examined were stimulants, opioids and sedatives/anxiolytics, with only the latter found to be associated with sexual assault or regretted sex.
Institute senior research scientist Kathleen Parks, PhD, said in a news release that non-medical use of prescription drugs “can have similar effects as alcohol, including slowed decision-making and physical coordination, which can decrease the ability to recognize danger or fend off a potential perpetrator.”
The study will be published in a special issue of Addictive Behaviors in December.