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The danger of drink & drug spiking

Drink Spiking and Date Rape Drugs

Spiking of drinks and date rape drugs is an alarming and growing concern. Drink spiking is when someone puts drugs or alcohol into your drink without you knowing. A date rape drug is any drug that incapacitates another person and renders that person vulnerable to sexual assault, including rape. It is an issue that everyone should be aware of to help those affected by it, avoid and stop it.

Advice and help on drink spiking

Symptoms of being spiked

The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with but your symptoms could include:

  • Lowered inhibitions

  • Loss of balance

  • Feeling sleepy

  • Visual problems

  • Confusion

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Unconsciousness

How to avoid it

Drink spiking can happen in any situation, at home or on a night out.

However, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Never leave your drink unattended, whether it’s alcoholic or not.

  • Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know.

  • Avoid drinking too much by sticking to the UK low-risk drinking guidelines.

  • Stick together with friends, and look out for each other.

  • What to do if a friend has been spiked

  • Advice from 'If you think a friend has had their drink spiked, and they are showing any of the symptoms described above there are a few things you can do to help'

  • Tell a bar manager, bouncer, or member of staff.

  • Stay with them and keep talking to them.

  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates.

  • Don’t let them go home on their own.

  • Don’t let them leave with someone you don’t know or trust.

  • Don’t let them drink more alcohol - this could lead to more serious problems.

Where can to find support

One of the effects of date rape drugs can be amnesia or loss of memory. That means it’s possible that you won’t be sure if you’ve been assaulted. But if you suspect you’ve been physically or sexually assaulted it’s important to tell someone. Try to confide in someone you trust like a friend or family member. You can go to the police or hospital accident & emergency department. If you don’t feel able to do that right away, there are Rape Crisis charity helplines you can call for support and advice:

-England and Wales: 0808 802 9999 (12–2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day)

-Scotland: 0808 801 0302 or text 07537 410 027 (6pm - midnight every day)

-Northern Ireland: 08000 246 991 (Monday and Thursday, 6 – 8pm)

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by crime, including sexual harassment or any sort of sexual harm, help and support is available. Victim Support is an independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime. They offer free, confidential help to anyone who’s been affected by sexual harassment.

Call 0808 16 89 111 or go to Victim Support's website.

Spiking someone’s drink carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in the UK. One-third of women in the UK have been spiked or know a friend who has been.

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