Drink spiking: What it is and how to prevent it

Incidents of drink spiking have been on the rise since the return of students to university last month.

Many Nottingham students have recently claimed that they have been spiked in popular local venues, so what is drink spiking and how can you prevent it?

What is drink spiking?

Drink spiking is when alcohol or drugs are added to someone’s drink without their knowledge and consent.

This means that it is still a crime to spike a drink as a “prank” or even if the substance is not consumed and the person is not harmed.

Spiking a drink is a crime and if someone is found guilty, they can get up to ten years in prison.

If a robbery or a sexual assault have also taken place, the sentence can be even higher.

The most commonly used method to spike a drink is to add alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink or by adding extra alcohol to an alcoholic beverage.

Drugs are usually involved as well.

These can be common prescription drugs or illegal drugs such as benzodiazepines, amphetamines, or “rape drugs”, such as GHB (also called liquid ecstasy), Rohypnol, and Ketamine which have no smell or taste.

Signs that somebody has been spiked

The “symptoms” can vary depending on what you have been spiked with, but common signs to look out for include:

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination and slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Unconsciousness

Most date rape drugs will have an effect about 15-30 minutes after you have 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 someone you trust to help you.

How to prevent drink spiking

Nightclubs should be safe places, where all people should be allowed to have fun and enjoy their night out.

Unfortunately, the dangers of drink spiking should be taken seriously.

It is important to take a few steps to prevent your drink from being spiked.

Some popular venues like Nottingham’s Bierkeller have shared the steps that they take to make nights out as safe as possible.

  1. If you leave your drink unattended, you can ask to keep it safe behind the counter or you can ask for a bottle stopper or drink topper to keep your drink safe.
  2. Ask for an “Angel Stein” to let bartenders know something is not right and you need help, even when you cannot say that out loud.

Nottinghamshire Police have also shared guidance on their website.

  1. Never leave your drink unattended, take it whenever you go or finish it before you hit the dancefloor.
  2. If someone offers you a drink, go with them to the bar and check on your drink the whole time. Don’t let them go alone because there is a chance for them to spike your drink while you are not paying attention.
  3. Whenever possible, get drinks from bottles as it is more difficult to insert drugs in bottles.
  4. Get ‘alcotops’ or ‘spikeys’ to protect your drink.
  5. Let someone know about your whereabouts.
  6. If you suspect your drink has been spiked do not drink and tell a friend or a member of staff about it. Take the drink back to the bar or pour it away straight away.
  7. Finally, keep an eye on your friends and make sure you go home safely.

Both Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham provide a Safe Taxi Scheme, so you never have an excuse to walk home alone.

Lead image: djjewelz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *