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What to do if you think a drink has been spiked

Your drinks can easily be spiked in nightclubs, house parties and pubs


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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A spiked drink is a drink that alcohol or drugs have been put into without your knowledge. Spiked drinks will make you feel drunk or drugged without realising why. You might pass out and not be able to defend yourself or black out and not remember what happened.

Drinks can be spiked as a prank, or with the intent of robbing, hurting, or sexually assaulting you, so it’s really important to know the facts about them. Drinks might be spiked in pubs, clubs, or parties.

How would I know if my drink was spiked?

Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell. Often, if your drink has been spiked, it will have no effect on the colour, taste or smell of the drink, so it can be hard to notice. Some warning signs of your drink being spiked include:

  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Feeling sick or sleepy
  • Feeling really drunk or confused even if you have only had a little alcohol to drink
  • Passing out

What should I do if my drink has been spiked?

  • If you think your drink has been spiked, you should tell a friend, the bar staff, the security staff, or the police right away.
  • Try to tell more than one person as you may not know who has spiked your drink. Ask them to stay with you and look after you.
  • You may need to go to hospital. The effects of a spiked drink can worsen very quickly, so make sure to get help immediately.
  • If you don’t feel well and someone, whether a stranger or a friend, tries to separate you from friends or takes you somewhere isolated then resist as much as possible. Scream for help, kick, push, do everything you can to avoid being alone with them.
  • Don’t accept help from strangers or someone you don’t feel comfortable with.

If you are the person helping someone who you suspect has been drugged try to ensure you do not isolate them and keep explaining to them what is happening and what you are doing.

How to prevent spiked drinks

Spiked drinks can be hard to prevent, and if you are spiked, it is never your fault. However, these are some measures you can take to protect yourself.

  • Don't share or steal drinks, or accept them from strangers. You never know what could be in someone else's drink, so stick to your own.
  • If someone wants to buy you a drink, go to the bar with them. This way, you can be sure what you get. 
  • Watch how much you drink. The more you have to drink, the less likely you are to realised that you've been spiked, so try not to drink too much. Read about safer drinking here.
  • Remember, non-alcoholic drinks can be spiked too. This includes tea, coffee and coke.

I think I’ve been raped or sexually assaulted

If you wake up and think you may have been raped or sexually assaulted, remember it is not your fault. You should not feel guilty or ashamed - you are not responsible for the actions of the person who hurt you.

You should tell a trusted friend or family member and go to the doctor or hospital.

Rape Crisis Centres are services that are there to help and support you in any way they can. You can call the 24 hour National Sexual Violence Helpline on 1800 77 88 88.

Click here to find out more about what to do after a rape or sexual assault.

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Published January 14th, 2013
Last updated June 14th, 2018
Tags abuse alcohol sexual abuse spiked drink
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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