Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Alcohol Is Most Common 'Date Rape' Drug

Young women in Northern Ireland are leaving themselves vulnerable to rape or serious sexual assault because of their binge drinking, according to research carried out by staff and students within the Forensic and Legal Medicine team at the University of Ulster.

Dr Janet Hall undertook a Masters research project with supervisors Dr Tara Moore and Professor Edward Goodall on drug facilitated sexual assault within Northern Ireland. They examined toxicology results compiled from victims of alleged sexual assaults over a six year period from 1999 to 2005. The findings demonstrated that the average alcohol levels at the time of the alleged assaults were almost THREE TIMES the drink/driving limit.

The research undermines claims that the use of ‘date-rape’ drugs or ‘spiking’ of drinks is the major factor involved. The study failed to find any trace of specific date rape drugs such as GHB, Rohypnol or ketamine, although it did caution that delays in reporting alleged assaults or in taking samples could mean that such drugs could no longer be detected.

The study found that the number of cases where toxicology samples were taken rose from 30 in 1999 to 51 in 2005 and the percentage of samples which contained alcohol, drugs or both increased from 66% to 78% over the same period.

The number of cases where high or very high levels of alcohol were found in the alleged victims increased over the same period. Although the involvement of drugs, other than alcohol, in the samples doubled in the six year period, their contribution to the assaults remain unclear. Many of the drugs detected were either prescription drugs or recreational drugs. Some drugs which could have been used to spike drinks were detected, but they also may have been simply prescribed for use by the alleged victim.

Dr Janet Hall, who examined the Forensic Science Northern Ireland toxicology database, said: "This research confirms the findings of other studies in the UK, US and Australia – that alcohol is a major contributor to vulnerability to sexual assault in social situations and acquaintance rape."

Dr Hall added "Given the very high levels of alcohol consumption by some alleged victims, the findings also raise the question of what constitutes valid consent to sexual activity. The capacity to give informed consent at these levels of alcohol consumption is very questionable."

Dr Moore said "Further study is now required to give a more accurate picture of the involvement of alcohol and drugs in cases of alleged sexual assault."

This research once again has highlighted the need for a clear message to be given to all regarding the importance of responsible drinking.

Avoidance of mixing different alcoholic drinks in one sitting and avoidance of mixing alcohol with other substances such as prescription medications or recreational drugs, will help reduce the vulnerability, in social settings, to sexual assault or even rape, the authors say.

David Young | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>