Spiking drinks is not just a bit of fun. It can be dangerous, and it’s illegal to spike someone else’s drink without their knowledge or consent.
Drink spiking doesn’t only happen to women. Men can be a victim of this kind of crime. An increase in sexual assaults and rapes has been attributed to drink spiking, with victims not always realising what is happening until it’s too late, if at all due to the effects of the drug.
In this article, you will learn about the dangers drink spiking poses and what spiking is, how spikers are punished if caught spiking someone else’s drink, and why people spike drinks.
What is drink spiking?
To spike someone’s drink means to covertly add alcohol or drugs to their drink without their knowledge.
For example, most date rape drugs can be added to any drink. The point of spiking someone’s drink is because it makes people very vulnerable to physical or sexual assaults.
Some symptoms that your drink has been spiked.
The effects of drink spiking vary from person to person depending on weight, age and health conditions. However, the following are some of the most common symptoms of drink spiking and most date rape drugs:
- Feeling drunk when you haven’t had much to drink.
- Being sick, passed out or unable to move.
- Having no memory of what has happened (blackouts).
- The victim cannot move or talk, so they can’t refuse sexual advances. This is not consent.
Spiking someone’s drink may result in criminal charges.
Under the Sexual Offences Act of 2003, it is against the law for anyone to spike another person’s drink to make them sexually vulnerable.
Having sex without consent is illegal. This includes if someone is incapacitated due to drink spiking with so-called date rape drugs. Spiking a drink or drugging someone to have sex is sexual assault. Drink spiking carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
What is needle spiking?
Needle spiking is the act of putting drugs into someone’s drink without their knowledge or injecting them with a syringe containing drugs.
Why would anyone do this?
Needle spiking is used to get someone drunk or high without their knowledge. It’s also not unheard of that the perpetrator has more sinister intentions, such as sexual assault.
What are the dangers?
One of the biggest dangers is sexual assault because you’ve been spiked with a date rape drug. Many of these drugs are dangerous and harmful in their own ways. Many people do not know the effects of these drugs, but it is essential to be aware, particularly when drink spiking is suspected.
What is date rape?
The U.S. Department of Education defines date rape as sexual assault when the assailant and victim are acquaintances, friends, or even a couple that has been in a romantic or intimate relationship. The tactics used in this crime also vary and may include:
- drink spiking, roofies (gamma hydroxybutyrate GHB), and other date rape drugs;
- making false promises;
- threats and/or coercion.
Among undergraduate students in the U.S., 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. (Association of American Universities (AAU), Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, January 17, 2020).
Women in the United Kingdom are being drugged with “spiked needles” containing date rape drugs at nightclubs in major cities with large student populations.
Women are “terrified of going out” as a result of drink spiking. A petition with 150,000 signatures has been launched urging the British government to make checking guests at bars a legal obligation.
Among the spiking victims who spoke to the BBC was 19-year-old University of Nottingham student, Sarah Buckle.
“One moment I was talking fine, and then I couldn’t get my words out,” she recalled of her evening on September 28. She then awoke in a hospital bed with a needle stuck into her hand, which was bruised and throbbing.
“How can you get your head around somebody thinking ‘I’m going to do this [drink spiking] to them'”
Between 2015 and 2018, the UK’s number of drink spiking cases reported increased by 108%, with 179 occurrences in 2017 alone. These are just the officially recorded numbers. According to one 2016 research, females are more likely to be targeted than males.
Glossary: most date rape drugs – but not all.
The most common drugs used to spike drinks, so-called date rape drugs are:
- Rohypnol, also known as ‘Roofies’.
- Ketamine (Special K)
- gamma-hydroxybutyrate GHB (Grievous Bodily Harm/Liquid Ecstasy)
- Prescription medication.
- Extra alcohol
The most common motive behind using date rape drugs in drink spiking is to commit sexual assault. Popular places for drink spiking are bars, pubs, parties and other places where people gather and use alcoholic drinks.
Warning signs that you have been sexually assaulted but are unaware of it.
If you suspect you or another has been sexually assaulted after being given a date rape drug, ask these questions:
- Do you feel upset, but I can’t recall what occurred?
- Do you have any physical indications of sexual assault, such as bruises?
- Is your clothing in a state of disarray?
- Is it possible that you’re feeling more potent effects than usual?
- Were any individuals who made you feel uneasy or strange present?
How do you test if a drink is spiked?
To test if a drink has been spiked, there are a few simple steps that one can take:
- Taste: If you detect a different flavour, bin the drink.
- Next, if you notice colours or bubbles coming from the drink, this could indicate that someone has dropped something into it.
- You may also feel unusually lightheaded after drinking it.
- In terms of smell, bear in mind that many drugs have no smell whatsoever.
- The best way to test if a drink has been spiked is by observing your behaviour after having a drink. It is usual for your head, limbs and overall body to feel heavy due to having alcohol in your system. However, If you notice your eyelids are getting heavier or you begin slurring your words, this may be an indication that you’ve been spiked.
- Finally, if you feel dizzy, nauseous or sick after having a drink, then your drink may have been spiked.
Watch out for symptoms in your friends!
Are drink spiking testing kits available?
A drink spiking testing kit is a must for any bar, club, or event concerned about this type of crime. The kits contain various tools to help you determine whether a drink has been spiked and what the drug(s) might have been used to spike it. You can purchase kits from Amazon at affordable prices.
What should you do if someone spikes your drink?
- Keep yourself safe.
- If your drink gets spiked at an event, go to security.
- If you feel unwell or that you’ve been assaulted go to the hospital.
- If the police are called, they must know where your drink was spiked so that any footage can be used as evidence for a conviction.
- Never leave your drink unattended. Always keep an eye on it and friends’ drinks too.
How can you prevent drink spiking?
Drink spiking can happen at parties or bars where people are drinking alcohol. No matter what drink you’re drinking or how much, this risk is always present.
To help prevent yourself from having your drinks spiked, only accept drinks that have not been opened. Never leave a glass unattended, and if you’re drinking in a bar or club, never accept drinks, particularly an open drink, from someone else.
If someone asks to sip your drink, don’t just give them the whole thing because they may be trying to spike it.
Always keep an eye on your drink.
There are a few other ways to prevent someone from spiking your drink, such as not leaving drinks behind when you go for a piddle, keeping an eye on people who come near you, especially if they seem suspicious or out of place, and do not accept free drinks from strangers.
Prevention is always better than cure.
Try drink stoppers. Click the links:
I am not affiliated with these products, but I have two daughters. Drink stoppers and straws can help.
Be aware of what’s going on around you and watch out for each other! Prevent drink spiking!
If someone spikes your drink, what should you do next?
If you do get spiked, call emergency services immediately and get yourself to a hospital quickly because the spiking effects can range from feeling sick to death depending on what was put into your drink.
The first thing you should do is try to get a sample of the drink that was spiked, if possible, without putting yourself in danger.
If you suspect someone has spiked your or someone else’s drink at a party or in another type of social situation, tell everyone there what has happened because other people are at risk too.
If you think your drink has been spiked and the effects are starting, tell everyone around you what is happening and get help as soon as possible. It depends on how much of the drug or sedative has been put in your drink as to how long it takes you to feel the effects.
If a drug is used, people might wake up with little or no memory of what happened or be too embarrassed to report it. However, it could happen to someone else. Report it!
Where you can get help and advice if you’ve had your drink spiked:
- Talk to people – talk about how you’re feeling and what effect the drugs have on you.
- Call an ambulance.
- The National Health Service (NHS) provides medical treatment and advice free of charge to everyone in the UK. The NHS can help if you think your drink has been spiked; Ring 111 for urgent, immediate care or 999 if someone is unresponsive or their life is at risk; Visit 111.nhs.uk
- Call the police.
The most important thing you can do is to stay safe. If your drink has been spiked, call emergency services immediately and get yourself to a hospital quickly because the spiking effects can range from feeling sick to death depending on what was put into your drink.
Get a sample of the spiked drink, if possible, without putting yourself in danger.
Call an ambulance or visit 111.nhs.uk for medical treatment or advice free of charge!
Prevention is always better than cure-so be aware of what’s going on around you and watch out for each other!
Prevent Drink Spiking!
This article is not intended as a substitution for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We cannot be held responsible for any damage or detrimental effects that may arise from any information or suggestions within this article. Please see your doctor if you’re in any way concerned about being drugged.