Blacking out can happen when a person drinks too much alcohol, does certain drugs, or combines drugs and alcohol. In some situations, you may have voluntarily taken drugs or drank a lot and ended up hooking up with someone. In this case, you may have concerns that the sex was unprotected.
In other situations, you may have blacked out because someone slipped drugs in your drink or took advantage of you when you were drunk or high. If you were intoxicated or passed out, you were not able to give consent to sex. This is called drug-facilitated sexual assault. If you think this might have happened to you, look below for some additional things you can do.
Contact support services
If you are not sure that you had sex, you may be worried about STIs or possible pregnancy. You may also wonder if you were sexually assaulted. It can be confusing to know what to do. There are a number of places to get help. These sexual assault services can help you decide what you need to do to and give you emotional support.
- WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women) crisis line: 1-877-392-7583 or 604-255-6344 in the Lower Mainland
- VSAC (Victoria Sexual Assault Centre) crisis line: 1-250-383-3232 (Vancouver Island)
- SMART (Surrey Mobile Assault Response Team) crisis line: 604-583-1295 (Burnaby to Boston Bar)
- Victim Link for other sexual assault support services across BC: 1-800-563-0808
Know it is not your fault
If you were intoxicated or passed out, you cannot consent to sex. Just because you were drinking or doing drugs does not mean you consented to sex. It is not your fault that someone took advantage of you when you were unable to give consent to sex. You have the right to get support and help.
Get medical attention
A health care provider can give you medications to help prevent a pregnancy if taken as soon as possible after sex without a condom. Your health care provider can recommend STI tests and treatment if needed.
Some hospital emergency rooms have staff specially trained health care providers who support people who have been sexually assaulted. In Vancouver and Victoria, trained volunteers are also available 24 hours to accompany you to the hospital and provide information and support. Contact the crisis line numbers above to get this service.
Get tested for STIs
Getting tested will help you know for sure if you have an STI, even if there are no symptoms. Find out where you can get tested.
HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV, there is medication that you can take within 72 hours which can reduce your chances of getting HIV. Talk to a health care provider about whether taking PEP might be beneficial for you.
PEP is also available when a person has been sexually assaulted. If you have been sexually assaulted, go to your nearest emergency room for assessment and support.
Taking the emergency contraceptive pill (Plan B) as soon as possible and within five days of having unprotected sex will reduce the chance of becoming pregnant. Plan B is available over the counter in most pharmacies.
Get a pregnancy test
If you are worried about becoming pregnant or think you might be pregnant, see a health care provider for a pregnancy test.
Public Health youth clinics and agencies such as Options for Sexual Health BC provide support and counselling for people and their partners dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. See the clinic finder or contact Options for Sexual Health in BC at 1-800-SEX-SENSE (1-800-739-7367) for an Options clinic location near you.
Get counselling and emotional support
Not knowing what happened to you can be upsetting. If you are worried or upset to the point that it is disrupting your everyday life, it can help to find someone you trust to talk to. Contact any of the support services mentioned above to access support. You can also find a private counselor or therapist that you like and trust on http://bc-counsellors.org/. Talking about what happened to a good friend or trusted family member can sometimes help too.
Other things you can do:
- If you have concerns about your drinking or drug use, you may want to talk to a counselor. Blacking out can make you vulnerable to sexual or physical violence.
- Find out some ways to stay safe.