(Written by guest blogger Wendy Harlowe.)

I said I would write about substance abuse and adolescent sexuality, but I am amending that. I think there are plenty of people who use alcohol and drugs without abusing them (experimentation lies in this realm), but I think my opinions still stand.

Instances of rape (including date rape) are much, much higher if the girl/woman has had anything to drink, or any kind of recreational drug. And I think this isn’t talked about enough (although I know Dr. Rayne has referred to this correlation in the past). When you’ve had even one drink, your inhibitions lower and your natural caution goes by the wayside.

Please, consider, on a first date or any situation where you are around people you don’t know well, don’t trust well, please just don’t drink or drug! Its a good enough reason not to. The benefits of the recreation just don’t measure up to the serious safety issues.

I remember when I was young, my junior high actually showed “Reefer Madness” as an anti-drug message in our 7th grade science class. It was hilarious! And one of the things that’s important to include when talking to young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is that it feels good! That’s why people do it, and that’s why people can get addicted. Same thing with sex. When adults want to create “danger” messages, if they don’t include the fact that it all feels good, if they are only trying to scare youngsters into abstaining, kids can feel lied to. The message rings false. I don’t want to do that.

When experimenting as a child, teen, and/or young adult, just keep these safety factors in mind, and see if you can make the decision to only drink and/or drug if you are in very safe surroundings with very safe people. If you are ever having blackouts (periods of time when you are drinking where you can’t remember what you were doing), then realize that is a prime indicator of potential alcoholism. If you have blackouts, its really best that you not drink at all.

I don’t want to come across as a prohibitionist. Although I don’t drink at all any more, and I don’t take recreational drugs anymore, I have come to realize that some people can do these things in moderation. Even some binge drinking doesn’t mean certain alcoholism. (I’m in somewhat of a minority in the AA crowd these days.)

But I also know the pain of rape, and the pain of guilt. I absolutely don’t mean to blame a victim if she was impaired by alcohol, and was then raped. The rape doesn’t come as a result of the alcohol; the blame belongs with the rapist. But, especially in cases of date rape, the lines get so fuzzy and prosecution is practically impossible. I really want women to take care of themselves, and avoid sexual assault, and refraining from the use of drugs and alcohol is a very good preventative measure.

What do you think?