Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault ('Date Rape')

Richard H. Schwartz, MD, Regina Milteer, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, Falls Church, Va; and Marc A. LeBeau, MS, Chemistry Unit, FBI Laboratory, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, DC

South Med J. 2000;93(6) 

In This Article

Suggestions for Prevention

A pamphlet distributed by the Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica-University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center contains suggestions that may help avoid date rape. The following suggestions also may be helpful.

  • Limit alcoholic drinks to a maximum of one or two per hour.

  • Do not gulp alcoholic beverages.

  • Be wary of opened alcoholic beverages offered by strangers or male acquaintances.

  • Let your date be the first to drink from the punch-bowl at a bar, club, or rave.

  • Avoid group drinking and particularly avoid participating in drinking games.

  • Check with local police departments; they are usually a good source of information about the location of bars, clubs, and areas where drug-facilitated sexual assault is known to have occurred.

  • When at an unfamiliar bar, directly observe your drink being poured by the bartender.

  • If your opened beverage tastes, looks, or smells strange, do not drink it.

  • After returning to your table after dancing, using the restroom, or making a telephone call, obtain a fresh drink.

  • If you feel giddy or lightheaded at a bar, club, or party, get assistance.

  • If you arrived with friends, a prearranged plan should be in place to check on each other visually and verbally before separately departing a bar, club, or party.

  • If one of your friends appears to be intoxicated, get help (consider calling 911).


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