Recent NYU study connected opioid use and sexual violence among youths in New York City. Participants reported frequent incidents of sexual assault. The drug context facilitated this violence, according to the study.

In the NYU study, 164 participants from 18 to 29 years old answered questions about their drug use and incidents of sexual violence. Forty-one percent of females were forced to have sex while high. The study explained that fulfilling sexual favors is an expectation for drug users after receiving free drugs. 

Additionally, 57 percent of participants in the study reported being high with someone who expected to have sex and 73 percent of female participants reported it at least once. 

"We found that the drug-using context facilitated victimization of users who were unconscious or semi-conscious as a result of using drugs," stated author Pedro Mateu-Gelaber of the study called "Sexual Violence in the Context of Drug Use among Young Adult Opioid Users in New York City."

The authors of the study urged educators to address this link between drug use and sexual violence, especially given the current epidemic of non-medical use of prescription opioids. Among young adults, self-reported use is 11 percent of the population.

"Prevention efforts should not only target the general public, but opioid and other drug users as well, with the message that sexual violence is never okay, regardless of how high a user might be," stated Mateu-Gelabert.