Pubdate: Thu, 19 Sep 2002
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2002 San Jose Mercury News
Authors: Lisa Chaney, Maia Szalavitz


A recent article (Page 1A, Sept. 14) described new "date rape" coasters 
that the YWCA is promoting for women to use in order to protect themselves 
from the continuing and increasing use of GHB, MDMA, Ketamine and Rohypnol.

It was disturbing that the article never referred to the fact that the men 
who are using these drugs as a means to have sex with women have a 
responsibility. Nowhere was there a mention that we need to spend time 
educating men about the dangers of using these drugs and also to value and 
respect women.

Why should our young women be on constant alert and at risk of being 
victims of sexual abuse and/or medical emergencies? Why isn't someone 
addressing the issue that so many men have so little respect for women that 
they will resort to drugs as a way of having sexual relations with them?

We can give women all the coasters in the world, but until men, young and 
old, start respecting women and seeing them as more than sex objects, the 
problem of date rape drugs will not go away.

Lisa Chaney

San Jose

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As an author of a book about substance abuse recovery, I found your article 
on the new coasters to detect drugs slipped into drinks to be misleading.

While citing statistics showing that emergency room mentions of "date rape" 
drugs have increased dramatically, it failed to mention that most people 
who take those drugs do so voluntarily.

The panic over date rape drugs has produced little evidence that these 
drugs are frequently taken unwittingly; the major study of rape victims 
that tested them for drugs found that most who had date rape drugs in their 
systems had cocaine, heroin or other drugs in their bodies as well. This 
suggests voluntary drug use.

If we want to prevent date rape, we need to recognize that women, like men, 
often choose to use drugs. Technology to detect drugs isn't going to solve 
this problem. The most commonly used date rape drug, after all, is alcohol 
- -- which won't produce a positive test result.

Maia Szalavitz

New York, N.Y.
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