Drink Spiking

Drink spiking occurs when a substance, is unknowingly added to your drink. This may affect how you act or behave with other people. These affects can affect someone’s judgement and in extreme cases incapacitate them, both of which can put them at risk of serious crime. Drink spiking can be committed for a number of reasons, such as to; facilitate sexual assault, facilitate theft or assault, or for amusement.  Women are more frequently spiked than men, but everyone is at risk, and anyone can help.

If you feel like you may have been spiked, first tell someone you completly trust, such as a close friend, police officer, medical professhional or relative. If you aren't with anyone you can trust, then call someone and get to safe space. Be wary of accepting help from a stranger, and don't leave with someone you dont know. 

If you or someone you know starts to feel like you may have been spiked, you should go to hospital with a trusted person. In an emergency you should dial 999, and ask for an ambulance. Hospital staff will be able to take blood and urine samples to confirm whether you have been spiked.

It is important to be aware of the effects of being spiked, so that you can be mindful of your own safety, but also to be aware of the safety of other people. If you start to feel like you may have been spiked, or a friend starts behaving differently, then you can take action.

Common Drugs

Common drugs that people are spiked with can come as powders, tablets or liquids, but will not have a noticeable flavour or colour. Some may be illict drugs, and some are prescription medications. Such examples include;

  • Alcohol
  • Ketamine
  • GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) or GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) 
  • Benzodiazepams, such as Diazepam, Rhypnol, Temazepam 
  • Zopiclone. 

The Effects

The effects are variable, and may be affected by; dosage, amount of alcohol consumed, and the victim. Some warning signs may include;

  • Drowsiness or light headedness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling confused or disorientated
  • Difficulty speaking, or slurring words
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Distorted hearing or vision
  • Paranoia
  • Amnesia (loss of memory).
  • Temporary loss/change of body sensation, such as feeling like you are floating.
  • Nausea / vomiting.
  • Loss of consciousness.

This may happen very quickly (within 30 minutes) and can last for up to six to eight hours. Sedative drugs, such as those listed above, when combined with alcohol can have much stronger affects, and can cause fatalities.

If your drink has been spiked, it is unlikely that you will be able to see, taste or smell the new substance, so prevention is key.


The following steps may help prevent someone from spiking your drink:

  • Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Never accept a drink from anyone you don't know or trust
  • Keep an eye on your friends' drinks.
  • Consider sticking to bottled drinks and holding your thumb over the opening between sips.
  • Keep your drink in your hand instead of on a surface.
  • Don't share or exchange drinks
  • Don’t drink leftover drinks. “No minesweeping”.
  • It's important to remember that if you've already been drinking, it may make you less aware of any danger.
  • Before going out, let someone know where you're going and what time you expect to be home.
  • Make plans for your journey home with friends & don't leave without each other.
  • If you need to get a Taxi home, call a reputable company, and if you dont have the money on you, then use our safe taxi scheme. You can call dragon on  029 2033 3333, quoting "Safe taxi scheme, your student number and name".

Please see the NHS pages for more information about drink spiking, the symptoms of drink spiking, what to do if your drink has been spiked and how to prevent your drink being spiked.