Summer is here and it is that time of year that comes with many celebrations such as graduations, proms, parties, and other events. It is common for alcohol to be involved in these types of celebrations. It is important to be mindful of how consuming alcohol and/or drugs can influence and impact consent. Being intoxicated can result in you making decisions you might otherwise make if you were sober. It also may impact your decision resulting safe sex practices such as condoms or other barrier methods. If you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs you cannot give informed consent.
Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Asking for consent is about setting boundaries and respecting the boundaries your partner has set. It is also the law. Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault, which is outlined in section 153.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada. If someone is intoxicated they are considered incapable of legally consenting. Consent is to be freely given which means it is a decision to be made without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of alcohol /or drugs.
Not all teens or adults drink or do drugs. But those who do and don’t know their limits can result to dangerous situations such as negative impacts on your alcohol poisoning, drinking and driving, sexual assault, or harm. It is important to know your limits and put safety measures in place.
Tips for Alcohol Safety:
- Have a designated driver. If the driver is also attending the event, it may also be a good idea to have a backup plan in case they decide to consume alcohol and/or drugs.
- Keep an eye on your friends and have them keep an eye on you.
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- Never accept a drink from people you don’t know or trust.
- Know what you are drinking.
- When you are walking through a crowd of people with an open drink, cover your drink with your hand. This will help ensure nothing is slipped in your drink without your knowledge or consent.
- Know your limits.
- Check in with yourself and your body. By doing this try to gauge how you feel. Do you feel more intoxicated than you are comfortable with? Know when you need to slow down and switch to water. You can also tell a friend and have them take you to a safe place.
- Don’t mix alcohol and drugs. Mixing alcohol with prescription drugs or illicit drugs can have dangerous health effects such as an increased risk of potential side effects, overdose, and a range of other medical and mental health issues.
- Be mindful that you cannot give informed consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
-Cassie Cole, BSW, RSW