In the last 3 years, the number of people spiked in nightclubs and bars across the country has doubled. In 2021, 25 people report being spiked each week, and that’s not taking into account police precincts who did not provide information nor people who did not report their incident. It is becoming more and more important to be aware of this crime, so here’s how to tell if your drink has been spiked and how to protect against it.
How to protect yourself against being spiked
Don’t leave your drink unattended
One way to make sure that nobody can put anything in your drink is to not leave it anywhere. Whilst dancing with your drink might feel like a lot of effort, it is much better to do that than risk getting assaulted. Be sensible and keep your drink on you, or with a trustworthy friend, at all times.
Do not accept drinks from people you don’t know
We have all been offered a drink before, and a lot of the time the person offering is likely harmless. However, one way to help protect yourself from getting spiked is to not accept any drinks from strangers. If you do want to accept the drink, go with them to the bar and watch the bartender make it.
Watch your drinks being made
Like we said above, make sure you are there when you get your drinks. Don’t leave it to your friends, in case they don’t watch. Make sure you can see your drink being made, and that way, you’ll know what is in it.
Cover your cup with your hand
When you’re dancing, or standing at the bar, hold your cup by the top and cover the opening with your hand. If you’re drinking from a bottle, cover the hole with your thumb. This stops anyone from dropping anything in when you’re not paying attention.
Purchase a cup cover
You can buy ‘cup condoms’ and cup caps online, which work as a cover for your drink if you’d rather not use your hand. They usually roll up into a scrunchie and are easy to carry around or on your wrist.
How to tell if your drink has been spiked
Most of the drugs used to spike drinks are used as they have no taste or smell. However, there are some tell-tale signs that you’ve been spiked.
If you have ice in your drink, they may be dust or flecks visible on the ice cubes immediately after drugs have been added to your drink. If you suspect that something has happened, it is worth checking.
You may also see some murkiness or cloudiness in your drink. It may be hard to see (especially in a dark club), but any visible difference may show that you’ve been spiked. This will only work if the drug used is not water-soluble.
Check for blue
Rohypnol, one of the most commonly used and known date-rape drugs, has changed a lot of their pills from a white pill to a blue capulet that changes clear or light liquids blue. This will not work in darker drinks, however, and not all brands made this change.
If you were unable to tell until drinking your drink, there are ways to tell if your drink was spiked once you’ve begun to drink it.
Watch out for the symptoms
Make sure you are aware of what symptoms come with date-rape drugs. You may feel dizzy, confused, nauseous, tired and paranoid, and you may hallucinate, struggle to walk and have blurred vision. If you feel any of this, immediately go to the bar, a bouncer, a friend, or phone 111 or 999. Avoid strangers, and make sure you are somewhere safe.
What to do if you’ve been spiked
If your drink does get spiked, stop drinking it as soon as you realise. The first thing you should do is find somewhere safe and find a friend. If you’re out alone, find a bouncer or bartender, and ask them to sit with you whilst you phone 111/999/a friend.
It is important to communicate quickly before the drugs make this harder. It is also important to alert the security staff so they can help catch whoever has drugged you before they do it again.
If you need urgent help, be sure to phone 999 or get a friend to take you to A&E.
Otherwise, get yourself home safe, and ask your friend to stay with you to make sure you don’t have any adverse effects from the drug.