Despite widespread publicity about “date rape” drugs such as roofies, liquid ecstasy and Special K, alcohol remains the most common substance associated with sexual assault, according to law enforcement officials.
“Quite honestly, alcohol is the No. 1 date rape drug,” said Mike Lyttle, regional supervisor for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Nashville crime lab. “Roofies are very rarely — if ever — seen in real life.”
It is not known how many sexual assaults are associated with date rape drugs, since the vast majority of rapes are unreported, according to USA Today. In many cases in which rape is reported, drugs have already left the victim’s system by the time blood or urine samples are collected.
“We really don’t know for sure what the actual numbers are,” said Dr. Susan R.B. Weiss, Associate Director for Scientific Affairs for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But, she added, “drugs that are sedating drugs or incapacitating drugs probably are not that common in sexual assault. We really don’t know the true prevalence, but we know for sure alcohol is much more common than other drugs.”
Women may not recognize alcohol as a potential date rape drug because it is socially acceptable and easily accessible, the article notes.
“There are date rape drugs in circulation, and innocent women have been raped due solely to a date rape drug or a date rape drug and alcohol,” said Dr. Corey Slovis, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “However, the majority, it appears, of rapes that occur with non-consenting women occur because they have been either intoxicated more than they believe or they have been given higher quantities of alcohol than they thought they had been given.”