Study finds link between prescription drug abuse and rising sexual crimes

Study finds link between prescription drug abuse and rising sexual crimes

Instances of students being involved in illicit sexual activities following overdose of alcohol are common among college campuses. Findings from previous studies have also hinted at the fact that more than half of the cases involving sexual assault in campuses are the result of excessive alcohol consumption by either the victim or the perpetrator. Recent observations by researchers from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions hint at similar effects of prescription medications in increasing the likelihood of assault and regretful sexual participation.

The findings of the study titled “Nonmedical use of prescription drugs and related negative sexual events: Prevalence estimates and correlates in college students” were pursuant to a detailed study of nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) by college students including opioids, sedatives and stimulants. For the current research published in the journal Addictive Behaviors in February 2017, the scientists observed 1,755 college students. Among them, more than 500 students had informed of using prescription medicines for non-medicinal purposes out of which a significant number also reported to have encountered negative sexual experiences.

The scientists observed that more than 14 percent of the study participants who had misused prescription drugs were repentant about their sexual encounters, while 7.1 percent informed of experiencing sexual assault. The scientists also observed that the only prescription drugs linked to incidents of unwanted sex and assault were anxiolytics or sedatives.

Side effects of prescription drugs similar to those of alcohol

Elaborating on the implications of the study, senior author, Dr. Kathleen Parks said, “The responsibility for rape or any sexual assault always falls squarely with the perpetrator. This study shows NMUPD, particularly anxiolytics/sedatives, 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.”

Though the study observations do not point at a cause-and-effect relationship between NMUPD and disturbing cases of rape, they are still important considering the fact that they direct attention to increasing use of opioids among young adults. The wide prevalence of opioid use among college students highlights the need for guardians and college administrators to be on the lookout for illicit use of drugs including painkillers, analgesics and stimulants on college campuses or at home and being aware of their role in increasing cases of sexual assaults. Parents should be cautious about keeping painkillers away from children and disposing of the unused medicines as soon as possible. Also, there is a need to inform and educate the young adult population about the potential dangers of opioid abuse leading to physiological and psychological health risks.

Road to recovery

What appears to be a means of getting relief from stress or gaining a high, turns into an addictive habit soon and creates a vicious cycle of problems. For those abusing opioids, recovery may be an arduous task though not impossible. Recuperation from the addictive effects of opioids may take time if treatment is not meted out timely or if loved ones fail to seek immediate medical help.

A major percentage of the American population is reeling under the harmful effects of prescription drugs including pain relievers and stimulants. It’s time to say no and ask for help. If you or anyone you know is battling opioid addiction, contact the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline for immediate help. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 to know about the drug treatment centers in Florida offering holistic recovery programs to help a person regain control of his or her life. You may also chat with our online representatives to seek expert advice about some state-of-the-art prescription drug rehab centers in Florida.

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