Since 2015, the number of reported instances of drink spiking has more than doubled according to figures from UK police forces. You might think it'll never happen to you, but it's always important to protect yourself on a night out.
Let’s take a look at spiking, how you can help prevent it, and what you should do if you think you or a friend has been spiked.
If someone has added drugs or alcohol to your drink without your knowledge, you've been spiked. 'Spikers' don't discriminate, they target both men and women.
Drinks can be spiked with any drug but the most common are alcohol or ‘date rape’ drugs, such as Rohypnol or GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate). These are often colourless and tasteless, which makes them easier to conceal.
Sometimes the motive behind spiking is sex related, but that's not the only reason people do it. Sometimes it's for the purposes of theft, or because the spiker thinks it's a practical joke.
Many spiking victims don't remember what has happened. They may become confused, vulnerable, and unable to look after themselves. Knowing how to recognise the signs will allow you to help a friend in need.
These vary depending on what you've been spiked with but common symptoms include:
Most date rape drugs will have an effect about 15-30 minutes after you've consumed them and the symptoms usually last for several hours.
If you start to feel strange or more drunk than you should be, get help straight away. If you think you've been spiked, go to A&E – ideally with another person to help you.
If your friend is showing signs of being spiked, here's what to do:
The most important things to do are never leave your drink unattended, never accept a drink from somebody you don't know, and don’t drink anything that you didn’t see being poured.
You can also use a Spikey, which goes inside the neck of the bottle and stops anything being dropped into it. Or, keep your thumb over the top of your bottle in between sips.
If you're at a house party, stay away from the punch bowl – you don't know how strong it is or if drugs have been slipped in.
Being very drunk can be confused with being spiked as the symptoms can be similar.
Try to keep track of how many drinks and units you've had. It’ll help you stay in control and spot the signs of being spiked early.