Spiking is when someone puts alcohol or drugs into another person’s drink or body without their consent or knowledge.

Recently, incidents involving needles have become more prevalent in cases that have been reported. There are a variety of motives as to why someone may want to spike someone else for example making them more vulnerable for reasons such as robbery or sexual assault.

It can happen to anyone and anywhere and by strangers or people you know. The effects of spiking can be unpredictable and can affect people differently depending on the substance used, the dosage and the individual’s alcohol consumption at the time.

Symptoms of spiking include lowered inhibitions, loss of balance/poor coordination, tiredness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, unconsciousness/memory loss, hallucinations and paranoia or a loss of ability to communicate properly. Victims of spiking do not necessarily present as being spiked and the symptoms are very similar to those when drinking alcohol.

What to do if you think you or someone around you has been spiked:

  • Important to tell someone as soon as you can.
  • Alert a member of staff or security if you’re at a venue.
  • Stay with your friend and keep talking to them.
  • Don’t let them go home on their own or leave with someone you don’t know.
  • Report to the police online, on 101 or, in an emergency, call 999.
  • If symptoms deteriorate call an ambulance.
  • If you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened you can ask for help by approaching venue staff and asking for ‘Angela’. This is a well known phrase that indicates you need help and a trained member of staff will support and assist you. You can also ask for ‘Angela’ if you are in any situation where you feel threatened or at risk.

Measures you can take to prevent the risks of spiking:

  • Do not leave your drink unattended. Take it with you instead. If you do leave a drink, discard it.
  • Be cautious who you accept drinks from and where they came from.
  • Alert staff if you’re at a venue if you see anyone acting suspiciously.
  • If you or someone you are with start to feel unwell, seek help from staff or call an ambulance immediately.
  • Plan your night out, including the journeys there and back.
  • Be cautious who you leave a venue with.