Skip to content

Drink Spiked? Your questions answered

Here we answer some of your frequently asked questions on drink spiking.

[expand title=”What are the main drink spiking drugs?“]

Ketamine and Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) are the most commonly known date rape drugs.

If your drink has been spiked with a date rape drug it’s unlikely that you will see, smell or taste any difference. Most date rape drugs take effect within 15-30 minutes and symptoms usually last for several hours.

GHB (gammahydroxybutrate): LIQUID ECSTASY, GEEBS, GBL, GBH, 4-BD, 1 : A salty-tasting clear fluid or white powder that is easy to make at home. Acts as a muscle relaxant and causes short-term amnesia when taken with alcohol. It produces a feeling of euphoria, reduce inhibitions and drowsiness. The effects start after about 10 minutes to an hour and can last for up to seven hours or so. Because GHB can really knock you out, it has been linked to drug assisted sexual assaults.

KETAMINE : VITAMIN K, SUPER K, SPECIAL K, K, GREEN, DONKEY DUST : A white powder that is mostly used on animals. It can cause a catatonic state and short-term amnesia. The effects do not last long, but until they wear off, Ketamine can cause a loss of feeling in the body and paralysis of the muscles. It can also lead to you experiencing a distortion of reality/hallucinating. You can ‘trip’ for between half an hour to several hours, and the after-effects may be felt for some hours afterwards.[/expand]

[expand title=”How big a problem is drink spiking?“]

In 2021, 2,201 people across England and Wales reported incidents of spiking to the police. However, it is thought that only one in 12 people report spiking, with the true figure estimated around a staggering 43,000 spiking victims in just one year. As reported in the Metro…

Needles, blackouts and self-doubt: How the UK is fighting a spiking epidemic  

With reports of spiking on the rise and only one in 12 people reporting it, we take a look to see how groups are fighting back.

Spiking is already a criminal offence under UK law.

‘If someone is spiked by someone with the intent of committing a sexual offence, then this is illegal under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act,’ solicitor Paul Britton, from Britton & Time Solicitors, explains. ‘If the accused argues they did not have any intent to commit a sexual offence, then they can still be prosecuted by 1861 Offences Against A Person Act, administering poison with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.’

Yet, subsequent criminal action following a spiking incident in England and Wales is dismally low. Since 2018, only 44 people have been charged with a criminal offence in relation to spiking. Elsewhere, in 1268 cases reports, no suspect was identified.

Attitudes are however changing. As the BBC reports…

The Home Office is considering whether a specific new offence of spiking is needed. The MPs welcome this and want a written update in six months’ time.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said he noted that some victims felt they were treated dismissively by venue staff.

“We are clear this is wrong and stand ready to work with the government on improving people’s experience when they are reporting these crimes,” said Mr Kill, who welcomed the report.

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin, drugs lead for the National Police Chiefs Council, said forensic drugs testing capacity had been increased.

“Let us be clear, whilst we don’t condone the taking of illegal drugs, it is not a crime to have them in one’s system and our focus remains on identifying those offenders that are committing spiking related crimes,” he said.

“Please be assured that if you do report to your local police force, you will be listened to, and it will be taken seriously from the outset.”[/expand]

[expand title=”How can I tell if my drink has been spiked?“]

If your drink has been spiked with a date rape drug it’s unlikely that you will see, smell or taste any difference. Most date rape drugs take effect within 15-30 minutes and symptoms usually last for several hours. The most prevalent drugs that have reportedly been used for drink spiking are GHB and Ketamine.

If you suspect your drink might have been spiked the only way to find out if it contains GHB or Ketamine is to test the drink with a CYD test strip.

DAB YOUR FINGER

Dab your finger, straw or stirrer in to the drink.

TWO DROPS

Put a drop on to each of the test patches on the strip.

CHECK THE COLOUR

If the pink patch turns blue, or the yellow patch turns orange then your drink has been compromised.

Although your symptoms will depend on which drug has been used, they usually include some of the following:

  1. Lower inhibitions
  2. Difficulty concentration
  3. Loss of balance and finding it hard to move
  4. Visual problems, particularly blurred vision or hallucinations. (seeing, hearing or touching things that aren’t there) or having an “out of body” experience
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Memory loss (amnesia) or “blackouts”
  7. Feeling confused or disorientated, particularly after waking up (if you’ve been asleep)
  8. Paranoia (a feeling of fear or distrust of others)
  9. Unconsciousness

[/expand]

[expand title=”Can having your drink spiked cause memory loss?“]

According to HSE, symptoms can include:

  • drowsiness or light-headedness
  • difficulty speaking
  • slurring your words
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of balance
  • finding it hard to move
  • visual problems, particularly blurred vision
  • memory loss or ‘blackouts’ – when you cannot remember large sections of your evening
  • feeling confused or disorientated, particularly after waking up
  • paranoia – a feeling of fear or distrust of others
  • hallucinations – seeing, hearing or touching things that aren’t there
  • nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
  • unconsciousness
  • temporary loss of body sensation – having an ‘out of body’ experience

All date rape drugs are particularly dangerous when they are mixed with alcohol. This is because they combine to have a very powerful anaesthetic effect. This is a temporary loss of sensation or awareness. It can cause unconsciousness. In more extreme cases, it can cause coma or even death.[/expand]

[expand title=”How long will the drink spiking symptoms last?“]

How long the drugs’ effects last will depend on how much has been taken and how much alcohol, if any, you have drunk.

The symptoms could last between 3 to 7 hours, but if you pass out it will be hard to know the full effect. You may still feel some of the symptoms of a date rape drug after a night’s sleep; particularly confusion, amnesia or nausea.[/expand]

[expand title=”What does it feel like to have your drink spiked?“]

Although your symptoms will depend on which drug has been used, they usually include some of the following:

  1. Lower inhibitions
  2. Difficulty concentration
  3. Loss of balance and finding it hard to move
  4. Visual problems, particularly blurred vision or hallucinations. (seeing, hearing or touching things that aren’t there) or having an “out of body” experience
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Memory loss (amnesia) or “blackouts”
  7. Feeling confused or disorientated, particularly after waking up (if you’ve been asleep)
  8. Paranoia (a feeling of fear or distrust of others)
  9. Unconsciousness

[/expand]

[expand title=”How can I prevent having my drink spiked?“]

  1. Don’t go out drinking alone. Go out with your friends and watch out for one another – perhaps appoint a drinks watcher. Never leave your drinks unattended. It’s safer to not accept a drink from someone you don’t know.
  2. Consider sticking to bottled drinks and avoiding punch bowls or jugs of cocktails
  3. Don’t give out your address to someone you’ve just met
  4. If you think your drink has been tampered with, don’t drink it – tell a trusted friend or relative immediately
  5. Before going out, let someone know where you’re going and what time you expect to be home
  6. Make plans for your journey home, if possible at the beginning of your evening
  7. Avoid taking expensive equipment with you or anything that could be a target for thieves
  8. If you are traveling abroad, be aware of the local area and where you can find help. Don’t forget that drink spiking or date rape is a global problem. It would be good to take some CYD tests with you
  9. Be aware of what’s going on around you and try to stay in control. Also be aware of your date’s ability to consent to sex – you may become guilty of committing rape if the other person is not in a condition to respond or react
  10. When in bars or clubs, get your drink directly from the bartender. Keep your eyes on your order. If you set it down to go to the dance floor, be wary of going back to it
  11. Remember soft drinks can also be a target for date-rape drugs
  12. Keep your eyes and ears open. If there’s talk of date rape drugs or friends seem too drunk for what they have actually downed, leave immediately and don’t go back!
  13. Don’t spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Follow your instincts and remove yourself from situations that you don’t feel good about.
  14. If you have reason to suspect that your drink has been spiked, test your drink with CYD. These strips analyze your drinks and give a clear indication if it has been spiked with GHB or Ketamine. If everyone carried CYD when drinking, potential criminals would think twice about spiking.[/expand]

[expand title=”Was my drink spiked if I threw up after 2 shots?“]

It is possible.[/expand]

[expand title=”What should I do if I think my drink has been spiked?“]

If you begin to feel drunk after having only a small amount or no alcohol, or you think
your drink may have been spiked, you should:

  • get help from a friend you trust, a relative or a senior member of staff if you
    are in a club or pub
  • go to a place of safety as soon as possible; but only go home with someone
    you totally trust.

TEST IT

Whatever you do, do not ignore your situation because you feel embarrassed. If you are still able, test your drink with the Check your Drink spiking test.

These strips analyze your drinks and give a clear indication if it has been spiked with GHB or Ketamine.

Both the GHB test and the Ketamine test have been developed and validated for the detection of these drugs by two independent bodies; a private laboratory and a University. Each test has been tested against a large range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to check for false positives.

If you can, try and keep your drink with you. This could be used as evidence by the police.

GET HELP

Tell someone you completely trust, such as a trusted friend, a pub landlord, security staff, a medical professional or the police.

If you’re not with anyone, call someone you trust and get to a safe place. Ask to use a phone if yours has been stolen. Be wary of accepting help from a stranger and don’t leave with someone you don’t know.

If you need urgent help, call 999. Otherwise, someone you trust should take you to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. Tell the medical staff that you think your drink has been spiked. Arrange for a trusted friend or relative to take you home and stay with you until the drugs have fully left your system.

REPORT IT

Report it to the police as soon as you can. They will need to take blood and urine samples. Most drugs leave the body within 72 hours of being taken (the date rape drug GHB leaves the body within 12 hours), so it’s important to be tested as soon as possible.

If you are abroad, get help from a travel representative, local medical services or ask a bar or hotel manager to call local police. You can also find contact details for the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate on GOV.UK.

[/expand]

Subscribe to receive news and updates

Sign up to receive news, updates and keep up to date on our latest products & offers!

We don’t spam! Read our Privacy Policy for more information