UB study shows link between sexual assault and non-medical prescription drug use

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- A first-of-its-kind study shows how prescription drugs play a role in sexual assaults. University at Buffalo researchers surveyed more than a thousand students and told News 4 the results are concerning.

“We need to start looking at some type of intervention,” said Dr. Kathleen Parks, a senior research scientist at the Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions.

Dr. Parks said there’s a link between bad sexual encounters and students who use prescription medications not meant for them.

“As far as regretted sex, or these negative sexual events, both men and women are both vulnerable when they’re that intoxicated,” said Dr. Parks.

She randomly surveyed 1,755 students at UB and SUNY Albany. More than 500 students reported using prescriptions that were not theirs for non-medical uses.

Of those 500 students, 14 percent said they had sex they later regretted, while seven percent of women said they were sexual assaulted.

“Xanax or Valium or Ambien, which would be a sedative, those were a drugs that were associated with those types of incidents,” she said.

Dr. Parks said it was also scary that students reported using alcohol and prescription drugs together.

She said the data shows students need more education.

“It’s never the victims fault for being intoxicated or being in a vulnerable position,” said Parks. “When I suggest we need to intervene or caution students, what I’m trying to empower a woman or a student to say no I don’t want to do that because it puts me at risk.”

Dr. Parks said until now no one has really looked at the link between bad sexual encounters and non-medical prescription drug use.

Buffalo Police Lt. David Mann told News 4, “This is an important study because it quantifies what we’ve been seeing in a number of cases each year, particularly with college age victims.”

The study also showed out of those 500 people who admitted drug use, six percent of men reported perpetrating sexual aggression. That statistic was linked to the use of illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, LSD or other drugs.


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