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Sexual Misconduct: Is Substance Abuse to Blame?

Do Drugs & Alcohol Cause Sexual Misconduct?

Since Harvey Weinstein’s public firing from his namesake company after several women accused him of rape and sexual assault, there have been 45 more men accused of sexual misconduct. This number will likely increase as more women come forward with their accusations towards other high-profile individuals.

Some of the most noteworthy individuals who have been fired due to sexual misconduct include:

  • Mario Batali – Chef, restaurant owner and co-host of ABC’s “The Chew”
  • Danny Masterson – Actor
  • Matt Lauer – Co-host of the “Today” show
  • Charlie Rose – Television host
  • David Sweeney – Chief news editor at NPR
  • Wes Goodman – Ohio state representative
  • Tony Cornish – Minnesota state representative
  • Eddie Berganza – Editor at DC Comics
  • Andy Dick – Actor
  • Kevin Spacey – Actor
  • …and many more.

These individuals are in high-profile positions in the media and government. These careers come with many risks, especially with drugs and alcohol. According to an article from Fox News, “Celebrities and high-profile people are more prone to anxiety and stress, and given the ubiquity of alcohol and other drugs in our culture, they are wildly prone to addiction. Alcohol and other drugs ease people’s fears related to their social environment (‘Will I fit in?’), body image (‘Do I look fat?’), competency and effectiveness (‘Am I good enough?’), and comparative success (‘What’s enough?’). Given that these are huge concerns on the red carpet and the roads that lead there, people find themselves relying more and more on mood altering substances to take away their anxiety.”

Drugs and alcohol are popular substances in celebrities’ lives. They have events almost daily that make legal and illegal substances accessible. With their personalities and the atmosphere celebs are in when they are using, the combination can lead to sexual misconduct.

Alcohol’s Role in Sexual Misconduct

Alcohol is often blamed for people having one-night stands and engaging in other sexual activities. Large amounts of alcohol can cause sexual promiscuity because it increases confidence and lowers personal and sexual inhibitions. This often ends up creating an illusion that they have a free pass to behave sexually towards others, which is what can get them in a great deal of trouble when they are sober.

According to USA Today, “Alcohol is the No. 1 date rape drug.” Alcohol is much more socially acceptable and extremely accessible at events. This opens the opportunity for people to not only drink too much themselves, but pressure others to drink as well, especially if they are interested in them sexually.

When relationships mean everything, such as in the case of Hollywood, alcohol is a saving grace for many who want to make it big. Dr. Corey Slovis, chair of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says that “At first, alcohol may initiate relaxation and a little bit of euphoria.” This is what makes drinking fun for people and makes them become more outgoing than they would when sober. However, there’s a fine line between drinking to relax and drinking to oblivion. “As a person’s blood-alcohol level rises with continued consumption, the physiological effects of alcohol – confusion, sedation and potential loss of consciousness – cause lowered inhibitions and may incapacitate a person, rendering him or her incapable of consenting to any sexual act,” Slovis says. This is exactly how many people end up victims of sexual attacks.

Drugs’ Role in Sexual Assaults

Drugs run through movie and television sets rampantly. Dennis Quaid admits that he regrets his cocaine abuse in the 70s and 80s, but it was hard to get away from it all. “It was casual at first. That’s what people were doing when they were at parties. Cocaine was even in the budgets of movies, thinly disguised. It was petty cash, you know? It was supplied, basically, on movie sets because everyone was doing it. People would make deals. Instead of having a cocktail, you’d have a line.”

Cocaine and other drug use could be a huge factor in the sexual misconduct that has been happening for many years. According to a study published in Psychopharmacology, cocaine can cause impatience for sex in addition to feelings of euphoria, high energy, and hyperalertness. According to the head researcher, “Our study affirms and may help explain why people who regularly use cocaine are more willing to partake in risky sex.”  Risky sex doesn’t only mean having sexual intercourse without protection increasing the chances of an STD, but also engaging in risky sexual behaviors, such as touching, groping, etc.

It’s Not the Substances Fault

While alcohol and drugs may have played a role in the sexual assaults that have happened over the years, they are not the blame of what has happened. The sexual advances that come from lower inhibitions due to alcohol and/or drugs are still actions made by the perpetrators. They are the ones that must endure the consequences that come along with what they have said and done to the people around them.

The sexual misconduct that has occurred in these high-profile cases did not happen once, but multiple times over the course of many years. If alcohol and drugs were a factor, it was up to those people to get the help they needed to ensure those actions were not committed repeatedly. The risk of losing their fame and reputation was too great for them to try to go to rehab and get the help they needed, so now, they are suffering tenfold.

It’s too late for them. They have lost their reputation, their career, and for many of them, the respect of their family and friends.

It’s not too late for you, though. This is your chance to take back control of your life before it spirals out of control like it has for these people. You do not want to be in the same position as them. It’s not worth it.

Take all this media attention about sexual misconduct as a sign that it’s time to get the help you need. Start the recovery process. Not only will it help you get back on your own two feet without substances, but will also help you make better decisions that won’t come back and bite you like it has for so many of these formerly trusted individuals.

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