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SPIKING – How To Protect Yourself On A Night Out

Drink spiking is the process of adding an additional substance, such as drugs or alcohol, to somebody’s drink without their knowledge or permission.

Drink spiking is a hugely under-reported problem that affects people the world over. It’s impossible to get exact statistics for drink-spiking. From our national survey we found that over 97% of cases aren’t even reported to the police, but it is increasing year by year according to UK police forces.

The results, from a series of Freedom of Information requests, show a 108% increase since 2015 in the number of reports to police forces, which include both the words ‘drink’ and ‘spiking’ or ‘lacing”. There is no official offence code for drink spiking.

Drink spiking can occur anywhere where drinks are consumed. This can include nightclubs, pubs, bars, restaurants, sporting and community events, house parties, and much more.

No! Although the majority of drink spiking does happen to alcoholic drinks, this doesn’t mean soft drinks can’t be spiked too! We’ve previously heard reports of soft drinks, energy drinks, hot drinks and even water.

There are many reasons that people spike drinks. Often, it may be a friend thinking they are doing you a favour, or pranking you – not funny if you have to drive later for example. It may be someone who wants have sex with you – possibly because they hope you are less likely to say no when you’re drunk, or maybe they want you so intoxicated you can’t even say no. It might be that they want to rob you, or it may be one of many other reasons.

You may have to drive later, or get drug/alcohol tested at work, or you may be on medication that doesn’t mix with booze – there may be any number of other reasons. Primarily, we believe you have the right to know exactly what is in your glass. What you put in your body should be entirely up to you.

The most common substance used is alcohol, and it’s not always with a malicious motive… But that doesn’t make it okay. 

No, even though drink-spiking is an offence and can carry a ten year prison sentence, people don’t usually report it unless there are further offences committed. According to our national survey, over 97% of victims don’t report being spiked to the police.

According to NHS.UK the following steps may help prevent drink spiking:

  • Never leave your drink unattended, and keep an eye on your friends’ drinks. 

  • Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know.   

  • Consider sticking to bottled drinks and avoiding punch bowls or jugs of cocktails.   

  • Don’t give out your address to someone you have just met.   

  • If you think your drink’s been tampered with, don’t drink it – tell a trusted friend or relative immediately.   

  • Before going out, let someone know where you’re going and what time you expect to be home.   

  • Make plans for your journey home.   

  • Avoid taking expensive equipment with you or anything that could be a target for thieves.   

  • If you’re travelling abroad, be aware of the local area and where you can find help.

Of course if you follow this advice and use StopTopps too, then you will be making it very difficult for a potential drink-spiker to target you.

If you start to feel strange or more drunk than you should be, get help immediately.

Immediately tell someone you trust. If you need urgent help, call 999. Be wary of accepting help from a stranger and don’t leave with someone you don’t know. If you feel unwell, someone you trust should take you to your nearest A&E department. Tell the medical staff that you think your drink’s been spiked.

Arrange for a trusted friend or relative to take you home and stay with you until the drugs have fully left your system.

Report it to the police as soon as you can. They may ask you to provide blood and urine samples.

Most drugs leave the body within 72 hours of being taken (the date rape drug GHB leaves the body within 12 hours), so it’s important to be tested as soon as possible.

If you’re abroad, get help from a travel representative or local medical services, or ask a bar or hotel manager to call local police.

Most date rape drugs take effect within 30 minutes, and symptoms usually last for several hours.But if you pass out, it’ll be hard to know the full effect. You may still feel some of the symptoms of a date rape drug after a night’s sleep.Although your symptoms will depend on which substance has been used, they usually include some of the following:

  • lowered inhibitions   

  • difficulty concentrating or speaking   

  • loss of balance and finding it hard to move   

  • visual problems, particularly blurred vision   

  • memory loss (amnesia) or “blackouts”   

  • feeling confused or disorientated, particularly after waking up (if you have been asleep)  

  • paranoia (a feeling of fear or distrust of others)   

  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing or touching things that aren’t there) or having an “out of body” experience   

  • nausea and vomiting   

  • unconsciousness

Yes, they can be very dangerous when combined with alcohol.

They may come in powder, tablet or liquid form, and don’t usually have a noticeable taste or smell.

Not at all, often they are used to incapacitate someone who is to be robbed, or take advantage of people in other ways.

Gamma-HydroxyButyrate (GHB) and Gamma-ButyroLactone (GBL) are commonly used, alongside tranquillisers: most often benzodiazepines, including Valium (diazepam) and Rohypnol.

Use of ketamine in spiking is also on the rise.

For more information:

If you are physically assaulted or robbed at all you should report it to the police.

This is the advice of NHS.UK;

If you have been sexually assaulted, you should get medical attention as soon as possible.

You may need tests to determine whether you have any sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or whether you’re pregnant.

You don’t have to report an attack to the police immediately if you don’t want to.

You can contact any of the following places for advice, treatment or referral to a specialist service (such as a forensic examination):

  1. a sexual assault referral centre   

  2. a doctor or practice nurse at your GP surgery   

  3. a voluntary organisation, such as Rape Crisis.

  4. the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre national freephone helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12 to 2.30pm and 7 to 9.30pm every day of the year)   

  5. a hospital A&E department   

  6. a sexual health clinic   

  7. a young people’s service  

  8. NHS 111

Any forensic evidence that’s obtained during tests can be stored while you decide whether to report the attack to the police.

We believe everyone has a right to know exactly what’s in their drink: there are no circumstances in which spiking is acceptable. Whether it’s an extra shot of alcohol or something more dangerous, it doesn’t matter: it’s wrong and everybody has the right to know what they’re putting in their body.

Our approach combines education and awareness-raising, by hosting events with partners and encouraging people to be vigilant and proactive, both protecting themselves and the people around them.

No. You can also contact Victim Support, an independent charity dedicated to supporting victims of crime in England and Wales.

They provide free and confidential 24/7 support and advice and you don’t have to have reported to the police to get their help.


08 08 16 89 111

Live chat:

Self-support guides:


Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer a range of support 24/7 to anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted or abused. They are located throughout the UK and are there for everyone at any time, regardless of when the incident occurred.

Get help and support after rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or any form of sexual violence. We are the charity working to end sexual violence and abuse.

Want to talk?

If you have experienced rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or any type of sexual violence – or you’re not sure – you can talk to us.

Victim Support

Supportline: 08 08 16 89 111

Victim Support is an independent charity dedicated to supporting victims of crime in England and Wales.

We provide free and confidential 24/7 support and advice and you don’t have to have reported to the police to get our help.

Live chat:



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