‘Spiking’ is when alcohol or drugs are added to someone’s drink without their knowledge. We have seen in the media reports about drugs being injected into people in nightclubs, although this has yet to be proven. Spiking a drink is illegal and the maximum sentence, if found guilty, is 10 years in prison. If a robbery or sexual assault has taken place, the sentence will be even higher.
Whilst a large number of people do report this, it is believed that many more cases may go unreported, due to either memory loss or embarrassment. However, for balance it’s also worth noting that some people may also feel like their drink has been spiked when they have had a bad reaction to alcohol, this could be caused by a variety of things such as dehydration, tiredness, not eating enough, and even being on a period can impact tolerance for alcohol and make a person feel drunker than they might normally feel.
There are many different reasons a drink may be spiked, from an unfunny prank by friends, intended robbery and sexual assault.
What is drink spiking?
There are several methods used to spike a drink
- Adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink or adding extra to an alcoholic drink.
- Drugs normally added to alcohol or a soft drink that act as a powerful sedative. They can cause the person to become ill, fall unconscious and, in extreme cases, it can even lead to death.
How to protect drinks from being spiked
- Never leave your drink unattended. Please take it with you wherever you go and, if the club doesn’t allow drinks on the dancefloor or in the toilet, take time to finish your drink beforehand.
- If someone offers to buy you a drink, make sure you go to the bar with them and watch your drink the whole time. Don’t let them go to the bar on their own, as there are far too many opportunities for someone to interfere with your drink.
- Keep an eye out for people trying to distract you from your drink by putting your hand over the top of it.
- If possible, have drinks from bottles – the necks make it more difficult to drop something into the bottle and you can also get ‘spikeys’ to fit bottles and protect your drink
- Always let someone know where you are going and what time they can expect you back and plan your route home in advance
- If you are unsure about your drink, don’t drink it and tell a friend or member of staff. Don’t leave it on the side – either take it back to the bar or pour it away yourself. Drinks that suddenly change colour, texture or get bubbles in them or have a white powder forming at the bottom all may have been spiked
- Always Keep an eye on your friends and ensure you all get home safely, don’t wander off with strangers
- You can purchase items such as
- Not in my Drink
- Under Cover Colours
- Xantus Drink Check
- Anti Drink Spiking Bottle Toppers
- Night Cap Drink Cover
What are the signs of drink spiking?
With alcohol it’s easy to spot the signs however if a drug is used, the signs are a mixture of drunkenness and rapid intoxication. If someone is displaying the below symptoms and you’re concerned about them, make sure you stay with them, get them any medical attention they need and ensure they get home safely,
- Intoxication in as little as 15 minutes and lasts for several hours. A number of the symptoms are similar to the effects of alcohol and that make it difficult to know if someone has had their drink ‘spiked’ – however, the main difference is how severe the symptoms are. While alcohol can severely affect someone, it often takes numerous drinks before that occurs. Drugs, on the other hand, can start affecting someone within a few minutes.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of ability to communicate properly
- Poor coordination
What should you do if you think your or a friends drink has been spiked?
- Tell someone at the venue and ensure that you/they are kept safe by ensuring a staff member stays with you/them.
- Do not leave the venue either alone or with friends or people you/they don’t know
- Call an ambulance and tell them that you/they believe a drink has been spiked.
- Report it to the police as soon as possible preferrably straight away. Drugs can leave the body in as little as 12 hours after consumption so it’s important you get tested quickly.
- Get someone to record details such as who you were with, what they looked like, what you drank, was anything taken from you, have you got any unusual memories or injuries to your body. Also the nightclub may , video footage, CCTV, witness statements. Memory can be affected by some of the drugs used to spike drinks, but the Police will need as much detail as possible to them investigate.
You might also want to check out our other blog The Latest Tools and Techniques to prevent drink spiking which can be found here
If you are a venue that would like Vulnerability and Women’s Safety Training please get in touch as we can deliver this remotely or in person please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org