Drink & needle spiking

What does spiking mean?

To spike a drink means to put alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink without their knowledge or permission. The aim may be to incapacitate someone enough to rob or assault them.

There is also some concern about the possibility that people are being ‘spiked’ by needles/syringes containing drugs. Although this is much less likely than drink spiking, many of the same tips for staying safe can protect you here too. Spiking is a criminal offence and venues should take steps to ensure they are safe places to be, but you still need to protect yourself, particularly if you feel unsafe.

How to avoid drink spiking

  • always buy your own drink and watch it being poured
  • don’t accept drinks from strangers
  • never leave your drink unattended while you dance or go to the toilet
  • don’t drink or taste anyone else’s drink
  • throw your drink away if you think it tastes or looks odd
  • report any concerns to the venue immediately

What if you think you have been spiked (by drink or needle)?

  • if you start to feel strange, sick or drunk when you know that you couldn’t be drunk, seek help from a trusted friend or the venue management
  • if you think you have been spiked, get a close friend to get you out of the place as soon as possible and take you home or to a hospital (if seriously unwell). Or ring a friend, relative or partner and ask them to come and pick you up
  • if you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened you can ask for help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase indicates to staff that you need help and a trained member of staff will then support and assist you
  • make sure you can trust the person you ask for help. Don’t go anywhere with a stranger or acquaintance
  • once you are safely home ask someone to stay with you until the effects of the drug have worn off, which could be several hours
  • don’t hesitate to call for medical help if you need it
  • tell the police what happened
  • if you have been sexually assaulted, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre for support

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