The use of date-rape drugs such as rohypnol and GHB is just “an urban myth” a study revealed where more than 200 students in the UK and US were surveyed. Academics believe this legend is fuelled by young woman unwilling to accept they have simply consumed too much alcohol.
The study – published in the British Journal of Criminology - revealed a number of interesting facts. For one, young woman’s fears about date-rape drugs are so ingrained that students think it is a more important factor in sexual assault than being drunk, taking drugs or walking alone at night.
Dr Adam Burgess from the university's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, said: "Young women appear to be displacing their anxieties about the consequences of consuming what is in the bottle on to rumours of what could be put there by someone else.
"The reason why fear of drink-spiking has become widespread seems to be a mix of it being more convenient to guard against than the effects of alcohol itself and the fact that such stories are exotic – like a more adult version of 'stranger danger'."
Nick Ross, chair of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, commented: "There is no evidence of widespread use of hypnotics in sexual assault, let alone Rohypnol, despite many attempts to prove the contrary.
"During thousands of blood and alcohol tests lots of judgement-impairing compounds were discovered, but they were mostly street drugs or prescription pharmaceuticals taken by the victims themselves, and above all alcohol was the common theme.
Earlier this year, Australian researchers found that none one of 97 young men and women admitted to hospital over 19 months to two Perth hospital claiming to have had their drinks spiked, had in fact been drugged.