Pick up your free drink spiking test kits from the SU Office, the SU Shop, the Library and St Marys Campus
Drink spiking is when someone intentionally puts a drug or alcohol into your drink without your knowledge. The motives for this can be a prank to get someone drunk or high; or they could have more malicious intentions such as assault, robbery or rape. No matter the motive, this is illegal and spiking someone's drink carries a maximum 10 year prison sentence*
What is injection spiking?
Injection spiking is when a drug is administered to you intentionally and without your knowledge by use of a needle. This practice hit headlines in October 2021 after reports of the practice in Nottingham, Exeter, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
They could be legal or illegal drugs. According to the NHS, alcohol is used more commonly than drugs to spike drinks.*
Some of these substances are commonly titled 'date rape' drugs. These can be odourless, colourless and tasteless. The most common date rape drugs are Rohypnol (Roofie) and Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB). These drugs can sedate and incapacitate a victim making them more vulnerable to attack.
Recreational drugs are commonly titled 'party drugs' and are sometimes used to spike alcoholic drinks. These drugs are typically Ecstasy, LSD and Ketamine. Mixing alcohol and stimulants like these can be very dangerous and can cause serious health problems.
Who is at risk of spiking?
It can happen to anyone, anywhere that drinks are available including pubs, clubs, house parties, restaurants and at home.
How can I reduce the risk of being spiked?
- 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
- If you suspect your drink has been spiked, do not drink it and raise your concerns to a member of staff 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
- If you are travelling abroad, be aware of the local area and where you can find help
Some bars provide plastic stopper devices, such as lids to put on bottles, which can reduce the risk of your drink being spiked however, remember - these stoppers won't stop you consuming a drink that has been spiked with additional alcohol. You can also get your free spiking test kits from the SU office and shop.
How do I know if I have been spiked?
If your drink has been spiked, it's unlikely that you will see, smell or taste any difference. Some drugs, such as GHB, may taste slightly salty and soapy for example.*
The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with. Your symptoms could include*
- Lowered inhibitions
- Loss of balance
- Visual problems
What should I do if I think me or a friend has been spiked?
- Tell someone you can trust for example, venue security, the police, a medical profesional, street pastors, a relative or close friend.
- Stay with your friend and keep talking to them/stay with a trusted person if you believe you've been spiked
- If you are alone, call someone you trust and get to a safe place, many venues will have a room set aside for this purpose.
- Ask to borrow a phone from a professional at the venue if yours has been stolen but be alert if you're approaching a stranger.
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 their/your condition deteriorates call an ambulance. If you feel unwell, someone you trust should take you to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. Tell the medical staff that you think your drink has 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. You don't have to press charges but it will help them in tackling the issue of spiking.
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 a situation arises where you're unsure stop drinking any more alcohol as this can lead to more serious problems.
One of the effects of date rape drugs can be amnesia, or loss of memory. That means it’s possible that you won’t be sure if you’ve been assaulted. But it’s important that if you suspect you’ve been physically or sexually assaulted you should tell someone. Try to confide in someone you trust like a friend or family member.*
Should I report it to the police if I/my friend is spiked?
It's really important that you report it to the police if you think you've been spiked. The more information they have about spiking incidents in the city, the more they can do to combat the issue and make arrests where necessary. If you don't want to report this to the Police, we understand, you can always report it to the Students' Union or the Student Hub and we can share the information with the Police without the need for them to contact you (if you don't want them to). If you do want to report anonymously you can report any criminal activity/incidents through Crimestoppers.
While it may not have an immediate impact, it may prevent others from being in a similar situation in future and can highlight issues so that police can tackle them more effectively.
Physical assault and robbery following an incident of spiking:
If you have been physically assaulted or robbed please report this to the Police.
Sexual assault following an incident of spiking:
If you have been sexually assaulted, whether as an adult or a young person, it is important to remember that it wasn't your fault. Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. Don't be afraid to get help.
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):
- a sexual assault referral centre
- a doctor or practice nurse at your GP surgery
- a voluntary organisation, such as Rape Crisis
- a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department
- a genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic
- a contraceptive clinic
- a young people’s service
- NHS 111
Any forensic evidence that is obtained during tests can be stored while you decide whether to report the attack to the police.
Read how to get help after rape and sexual assault.