In 2021, as if covid wasn’t enough, the country seemed to be having an epidemic of drink spiking. This then, horrifically, developed into needle spiking in clubs. But is this still happening? Do you need to worry? And, most importantly, what do you do if you get spiked?
What is spiking?
‘Spiking’ is the term used for when someone adds a chemical compound – usually referred to as a ‘date rape drug’ – to your drink, or into your system in some way. Sometimes, spiking is just done with other types of alcohol, with the intent of getting the victim drunker than they had originally planned. Both of these can result in an altered state of mind, which assailants can then use to their advantage. It is a crime, and can lead to some seriously horrible events and trauma.
In 2021, reports of spiking increased, and rather than people just pouring things in drinks, needles became involved. With the former method, it is easier to protect yourself. In fact, a lot of young people are taught to cover their drinks when they dance, never leave their drinks unattended, and to watch their drinks at all times – but with a needle spiking, this is much harder to prevent.
For information on how to tell if your drink has been spiked, check out our article here.
Is it still happening?
Unfortunately, both types of spiking will never fully be gone. Whilst security do check bags and pat down patrons as they enter venues, people will always, inevitably, find ways to hide things. However, it would appear that the surge of needle spiking that occurred as clubs reopened on the way out of lockdown has calmed slightly. The media is no longer overwhelmed with cases, and social media seems to have quietened down about it, too.
This is not to say that it won’t still happen, though. People can be dangerous, twisted and horrible, and it is always worth being that little bit wary in a club if you think someone is following you or anything like that. Better to protect yourself and be safe, than be sorry. Likewise, if you see anybody in a club acting suspicious towards anyone else, whether you know them or not, it is worth asking security to keep an eye on them. The person might get offended, but realistically, that’s better than them getting the chance to hurt someone!
How to protect yourself
Protecting yourself from needle spiking can be tricky, as it is not as simple as hiding your cup or buying your own drinks. Talk to Frank has the following tips to protect yourself from being spiked:
- ensure you take your phone with you, and that it is fully charged
- plan your night in advance, including journeys either way
- keep aware of your surroundings and the people you’re with
What to do if you think you’ve been spiked
If you think you’ve been spiked, be it by a needle of by a drink, tell someone immediately. Whether it be your friend (make sure it is someone you trust completely), a bouncer or a member of the bar team. If you’re not comfortable announcing it to the bar staff, use the code ‘Angela’. Asking them for ‘Angela’ or sometimes, an ‘angel shot’, will alert them to the fact that you need help.
If you feel unwell, let someone know and get someone to help you home or to a hospital if you’re really sick. Call a friend or a partner, or get someone you’re with to come with you in a cab.
Once you are home, get someone to stay with you until the effects have worn off. If you do suspect that you were spiked by injection, then go to your local walk-in centre or accident and emergency as quickly as possible. They will need to do blood tests and ensure that you’ve not been subjected to a dirty needle or anything riskier than a date rape drug.