Drink spiking

Each year in the UK, hundreds of people are victims of drink spiking, where alcohol or drugs are added to someone’s drink without them knowing. Drink spiking may be done with the intent of stealing from the victim, assaulting the victim, or as a prank. It is a criminal offence and can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.

Many incidents of drink-spiking go unreported because victims experience memory loss or are unable to remember events clearly. If you think you’ve been spiked, report it to the police as soon as possible.

Tips to reduce the risk of spiking

There is no certain way of knowing if your drink has been spiked. In most cases, it’s unlikely that you’ll see, smell or taste any difference. Alcohol is the most common substance used to spike drinks, so if you start to feel drunk very quickly, get help immediately. The following steps may help prevent drink spiking:

  • Never leave your drink unattended. If you suspect your drink has been spiked, tell someone immediately.
  • Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know, or give out your address.
  • Consider sticking to bottled drinks and avoiding punch bowls or jugs of cocktails.
  • Some bars provide coloured bottle stoppers (known as ‘spikeys’), which can prevent drink-tampering.
  • Before going out, tell someone where you’re going and what time you expect to be home.

If you think your drink has been spiked

If you are on a night out and think your drink may have been spiked, tell someone you trust such as a close friend, who can stay with you and help you to find support. If you aren’t with anyone, call someone and get to a safe place.

  • 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, ask a friend to take you to A & E. Tell 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 possible.