How to know when your drink is spiked and what to do

This blog post is created purely for the purpose of awareness and first responses. If you suspect you have been a victim of spiking please seek medical and legal assistance immediately.

What is it?

Spiking drinks or drink spiking is the term given to the act of adding alcohol or a drug into another individual’s drink, alcoholic or nonalcoholic.

Is it legal?

Spiking drinks as per the laws of many countries is a punishable offense and can lead to years of imprisonment and/or hefty fines.

Why do they do it then?

The act of spiking drinks as per research is done for a multitude of reasons with the major motives being

For amusement
To be malicious (deliberately nasty)
To carry out a sexual assault or rape
To carry out a physical assault
To carry out a theft

How is it done?

Drink spiking can occur via 2 means; addition of more alcohol or a drug into a drink

The addition of alcohol to another drink that is alcoholic or nonalcoholic is the most common form of drink spiking.
The addition of a drug into another drink carries more serious consequences. The most commonly used drugs for spiking drinks as per the NHS are gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), tranquilizers and ketamine.

How do I know if my drink has been spiked?

If your drink has been spiked with more alcohol, it is rather easy to detect as the taste would be different. This, however, could be a difficult task if the victim has already consumed too much alcohol.

The detection of drugs in your drink, however, is quite difficult as they are tasteless and dissolve very fast. This is more dangerous as the drugs used for spiking drinks are powerful anesthetics and can have the victim incapable of coherent thought or movement. Extreme cases could lead to coma or even death.

There are however several telltale signs of being a victim of drink spiking as per the NHS.

Lowered inhibitions
Difficulty concentrating or speaking
Loss of balance and finding it hard to move
Visual problems, particularly blurred vision
Memory loss (amnesia) or “blackouts”
Feeling confused or disoriented, particularly after waking up (if you’ve been asleep)
Paranoia (a feeling of fear or distrust of others)
Hallucinations (seeing, hearing or touching things that aren’t there) or having an “out of body” Experience
Nausea and vomiting

Can I do anything to stop it?

Drink spiking can happen anywhere, at any time and is something that should be looked out for during your travels. This is all the more important in locations famed for parties, where offenders seek victims who are already in an advanced state of intoxication.

There are however some steps that could be taken to reduce the chances of being a victim of drink spiking.

Never leave drinks unattended and keep a watchful eye over the drinks of those who are with you.
Steer clear and refrain from accepting drinks from those who are unfamiliar
Consider sticking to bottled drinks and avoiding punch bowls or jugs of cocktails where drugs could be easily added.
Do not give your personal details such as address or phone number to someone you have just met.
Do not consume any drink that appears to have been tampered with. Dispose of it immediately and inform friends or family of the fact.
Inform family or a trusted friend of your whereabouts via periodical check-ins.
Ensure you have a plan for getting home as you will not be driving home if under the influence of alcohol.
Avoid taking expensive equipment with you or anything that could be a target for thieves.
If you are traveling abroad, be aware of the local area where you can find help and stay with those you trust or will be able to take care of you in an unexpected situation.

What do I do if my drink has been spiked?

If you suspect your drink has been spiked, there are several things that you must do in the small window you have before the drugs take full effect.

Inform the bartender, manager or the bouncer of your state and request for help
Tell those who you are with and trust of your state and go home
Go to a safe place and reach out to a close friend, relatives so that they may come to pick you up
Go to a safe place and call the emergency services to come and fetch you

What if I was attacked and/or robbed?

First, you must ensure your physical safety. We recommend moving to a location that you can trust and feel safe in. Once this is done, you may call the police to report the attack and/or robbery. Try to recall details such as

Who you suspect spiked your drink
Any physical descriptions of the attacker and/or robber
What were the events that led to the attack and/or robbery
What happened during the attack and/or robbery
List of what was taken

We recommend going to a hospital once the above is completed or even before to ensure your health.

What if I was sexually assaulted?

The first thing in such an instance is to call the emergency services and get yourself to a hospital where the medical professionals can examine you for any immediate injuries. Once this is completed a comprehensive set of tests can be done for STIs and pregnancy.

Once the tests are completed we recommend informing your embassy of what transpired and seeking the assistance of the police if you wish to.

What happens now?

Remember that spiking drinks is a heinous act and you are not to blame for what transpired. Seek help from friends and family and tell them of what transpired. You can also find help with many of the support centers that cater to individuals affected by events such as yours.

Drink spiking and date rape drugs
Date rape drugs symptoms