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Posted by on Nov 19, 2009 in Science & Technology, Society | 24 comments

The Fake Date-Rape Drug Epidemic

A study of 200 students published in the British Journal of Criminology found that many wrongly blame the effects of a “bad night out” on date-rape drugs when, in fact, they just drank too much. Some are in “active denial” and fears of date-rape drugs are so pervasive that students think it happens more often than the abuse as a consequence of drugs, binge drinking, or walking alone at night.

The Telegraph headlines its story, date-rape drink spiking ‘an urban legend’:

Among young people, drink spiking stories have attractive features that could “help explain” their disproportionate loss of control after drinking alcohol, the study found.

Dr Burgess said: “Our findings suggest guarding against drink spiking has also become a way for women to negotiate how to watch out for each other in an environment where they might well lose control from alcohol consumption.”

Co-researcher Dr Sarah Moore said: “We would be very interested in finding out whether the urban myth of spiking is also the result of parents feeling unable to discuss with their adult daughters how to manage drinking and sex and representing their anxieties about this through discussion of drink spiking risks.”

Via Bruce Schneir, “Basically, the hypothesis is that perpetuating the fear of drug-rape allows parents and friends to warn young women off excessive drinking without criticizing their personal choices. The fake bogeyman lets people avoid talking about the real issues.”

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