The Safe Blog
Drink Spiking - The Safe Yard’s Top Tips to Stay Safe
Written by Áine Hendron 27/09/2022
According to reports, drink spiking is becoming more and more common in the UK and Ireland. It’s a problem that can affect everyone, but the most common victims are women in their early twenties and late teens.
As many of us head to university, it’s important to understand what spiking is and how it can be prevented. In this blog, we look at the signs of spiking, our favourite anti drink spiking products, and our top tips for keeping yourself and your friends safe.
Note: We want to make it clear that it’s not your fault if you’ve been spiked. And, it’s extremely disappointing that many of us feel like it’s our responsibility to prevent being spiked. We want to empower you with the knowledge of how to stay safe and protect yourself.
What is drink spiking?
Drink spiking is when drugs or alcohol are added to someone’s drink without their consent or knowledge. Usually, the intention is to make the victim more vulnerable and more susceptible to attacks.
Spiking is illegal, regardless of the intent. It’s against the law whether or not the person who has been spiked is hurt, and regardless of whether or not an attack is carried out after the spiking. That means if someone adds something to your drink, even if it’s your friends, or even if it’s done as a joke, it’s still a crime.
Many people think that it’s only spiking when illegal drugs are involved. In reality, adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink, and even adding extra alcohol to someone else’s drink without their knowledge is spiking too.
Key facts & drink spiking statistics UK
While reports of spiking have increased, police think that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable coming forward, so we don’t actually know the true extent of the problem. According to a recent YouGov survey, they’re right. The polls show:
- 1 in 3 women say they personally know someone that has been spiked
- 1 in 9 women say they have been spiked
- 1 in 17 men say they have been spiked
The survey showed that around half of the respondents said that they don’t think they’d be taken seriously if they file a report. Most people worry that they will be dismissed as simply having one too many, or blamed for being in that situation.
Symptoms of drink spiking (the day after and night of)
Drink spiking symptoms vary depending on a number of factors. The substance used, what your drink has been mixed with, the dosage and your size and weight can influence how you react to being spiked.
Feeling much drunker than expected
Feeling ‘out of it’, extremely confused or lightheaded
Finding it hard to move or speak
Feeling sick or vomiting
Slurring your words
Bad balance, muscle spasms and seizures
Loss of consciousness
The next day, you might feel extremely disorientated and confused when you wake up. You might also have large blackouts, and struggle to remember large parts of your evening. Paranoia, hallucinations and nausea are common symptoms the day after spiking too.
How to prevent drink spiking
Here are The Safe Yard’s tips to prevent drink spiking:
Never leave your drink unattended or out of sight
Someone can drop something into your drink in the blink of an eye. Make sure to keep your drink with you when going to the toilets, the dance floor, and at your table.
If you're getting a round of drinks and can't carry them all at once, bring a friend rather than leaving any at the bar while you make a few trips.
Cover your drink
Covering your drink is so, so important, especially when you’re in a crowded bar, nightclub or festival.
If you are drinking from a bottle, use your thumb to cover the top. If you’re drinking from a glass, hold your drink from the top, rather than the sides.
The safest option is to use anti spiking drinks covers. The Safe Cover Keyring from The Safe Yard is a discreet, reusable drinks cover with a straw hole. Its low-key design means it’s ideal for any night out, and silicone material helps it stretch around most glasses - including gin goblets.
Don't accept drinks from people you don’t know
This includes people that you know, but don’t know that well. Unfortunately, we don’t always know someone’s intentions. Unless you watched the drink being poured, don’t accept it.
This includes trying someone else’s drink or having a sip when offered.
When in doubt, test it out
If you’re not sure whether someone’s spiked your drink or not, it’s never worth taking the risk.
Since many substances used to spike drinks are colourless, odourless, and tasteless, having testing kits with you on a night out can provide huge ease of mind.
The Safe Yard offer drink spiking test strips that test against GHB, ketamine, speed, MDMA, cocaine and other popular 'date rape' drugs. They’re discreet, easy to use and 98% effective.
If you don’t have a testing kit on hand and you’re worried that someone’s dropped something in your drink, the safest thing to do is simply throw it away.
What to do if your friend has been spiked
If your friend starts to feel strange and suspects they’ve been the victim of spiking, tell a member of staff right away. You should also stay with them and make sure they don’t go home alone.
If you’re worried about their condition, call an ambulance or seek medical treatment right away. You should also keep the drink that you think is spiked too, to give to the police.
Being spiked can be an extremely scary, traumatic experience. The dangers extend far beyond the spiking alone since we know that so many spikings lead to sexual assaults, robberies, and other physical attacks.
Raising awareness and supporting victims of drink spiking is crucial to changing the culture. Again, it shouldn’t be up to the victims to protect ourselves. As we join together to speak out against spiking, perpetrators will learn that it won’t be tolerated. Bar owners and police will learn that we have a right to feel safe and protected.
As a final piece of advice, don’t let the fear of spiking prevent you from going out. You deserve to go out and have a good time. Taking precautions and educating yourself about spiking is the best way to stay safe. Visit The Safe Yard to learn more and to buy drink spiking prevention covers, drink testing kits and more.
The Safe Yard Team xx
One in nine women say they have had their drink spiked YouGov
What is drink spiking? Alcohol and drugs foundation