• WSDC

Campus Safety: Alcohol and Date Rape Drugs


young people drinking alcohol at a party
You will face the challenge of alcohol and date rape drugs on and around campus.

We talk about alcohol and date rape drugs as two separate threats, but the reality is alcohol is really the most prevalent date rape drug you face.

What we are really talking about here is intoxication. Any intoxicant you ingest will have an effect on your judgment and your physical abilities to protect yourself and keep yourself and your friends safe.

Two ways to protect yourself against date rape drugs are:

  • Realize that they are prevalent and you will be exposed to them.

  • Educate yourself about them. Below are some links to help you.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) has some good information on the use -- and abuse -- of alcohol. Yes, yes, we've heard this before, but it's smart to realize the trap many can fall into with this socially acceptable drug.

The Association between Alcohol and Sexual Risk Behaviors among College Students: A Review is here from NCBI.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes a number of useful items like Prevent Unsafe Drinking Behaviors On Campus. In addition, it publishes an annual report called “College Students Rising: The Facts About Alcohol, Drugs & Sexual Risk-Taking” for college students entering college for the first time in fall or spring semester every year. This publication will also give you a general idea of what people have been up to in the past year (which is useful if you have concerns about your own behavior).


The Dangerous Fallout for New College Students from Alcohol And Date Rape Drugs

We've talked about the first semester in college being the most dangerous time in a woman's life. This is statistically the most likely time for women to be sexually assaulted on campus. It's claimed that upwards of 50% of all sexual assaults recorded for the year happen during this timeframe.


Risky behaviour resulting from use of alcohol or drugs can have a number of life-altering results:


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - The prevalence of STIs is on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the number of new cases in the United States has more than doubled over the past three decades, with particular increases seen among young people (10–24 years old). The CDC predicts that by 2020, there will be an estimated 1 million new cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia among Americans under age 25.

Graphic showing the number of adults over 18 who admit to binge drinking the past month
A quarter of adults admit to binge drinking.

Alcoholism - It is estimated that up to 70% of sexually active college students are drinking

excessively or heavily at least once a week. Research shows that one out of four college students have been drunk or high at some point during their lives; 45% have experienced “binge eating disorder” which includes excessive food intake combined with physical withdrawal from alcohol as a result of binge drinking; 43% have experienced binge drinking behavior as defined by binge drinking four or more times in a row without experiencing any hangover; 33% have been diagnosed with depression (i.e., clinically depressed), according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE); 20% have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; 16% have attempted suicide; 15% have attempted substance abuse including marijuana use at least once in their lifetime; 12% are currently abusing illicit drugs including cocaine, marijuana and heroin; 7% are currently abusing prescription drugs including Percocet, Vicodin and Vicoprofen while 17% report having used illicit drugs including marijuana or cocaine within the previous year; 6% report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse

Rape and Sexual Assault - Statistics in this area are historically vague and sometimes conflicting. According to RAINN every 68 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).


How College Students Can Protect Themselves Against Alcohol And Date Rape Drugs

Some of the biggest myths about alcohol and sexual assault are that alcohol is safer than other drugs, and that it doesn’t cause problems. In fact, alcohol is a major contributing factor to rape and rape-related sexual violence.

The most effective way to protect yourself from alcohol is by not drinking it at all…

Sexual Assault Can't Happen to Me, Right?

We all think that that things will never happen to us. Unfortunately, typically a young woman attending college for the first time usually has less experience than older women. Also adding to the mix is the prevalence of a huge number of 18 to 24-year-old men who also bring a level of immaturity to campus. The combination can lead to tragic events and effects as we mentioned above.

It can happen to you. All of us have personal examples of friends and work associates who have been hospitalized by being slipped date rape drugs in social and drinking environments.

Luckily, there are a few basic facts everyone needs to know before they go out drinking:

  • The deleterious effects of intoxicants are almost always more than what we think at the time. The effects of alcohol and drugs are different for different people. So some of our friends might be more easily intoxicated than others. The fact remains that ingesting any amount of alcohol or drugs will have an effect on your mental and physical processes.

  • Obviously the more we ingest, the more inebriated we become -- despite our protests to the contrary. The more inebriated the more likely we are to have lapses which can lead to more risky behavior and cause physical injury.

  • Consider staying together as a group of friends to watch out for each other.

  • Don’t leave an intoxicated friend in a dodgy environment. They could be assaulted or injure themselves. Don't hesitate to call campus police if the situation is getting out of hand.

Get educated.

Get trained.

And stay safe.




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