Emergency: Report and Support is not an emergency service. If there is an immediate risk of serious harm please call the emergency services on 999
What is Spiking and who is responsible?
Spiking a drink with substances such as alcohol or drugs or spiking by injection (regardless of any motivation, e.g., sexual violence/theft) are serious criminal offences with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and constitute disciplinary misconduct within the University with sanctions including permanent exclusion.
One of the most common motivations for spiking is to commit a sexual offence. Perpetrators who choose to spike another person are committing a sexual offence whether or not they commit any other form of sexual violence. There is no excuse for spiking and all guilt and responsibility lies with the perpetrator. The victim is never to blame.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, medical advisor to Drinkaware, offers the following practical advice:
"If your drink has been spiked 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. If you start to feel strange or more drunk than you should be, then get help straight away."
Do not add any substance (including alcohol) to another person’s drink without their consent. Doing this can cause serious and dangerous health consequences for the victim along with emotional and psychological trauma.
There are no guaranteed ways for you to prevent another person from spiking. The following actions can help make it more difficult for a perpetrator to spike your drink. Perpetrators will spike any type of drink, including non-alcoholic drinks, and spiking can occur at any venue, public or private, including parties in houses. If your drink is spiked, it is not your fault.
- Watch your and your friends’ drinks being served
- Use an anti-drink spiking device, such as a Spikey or lid cover.
- Never leave drinks unattended - keep them in your hand or in sight.
- Do not accept drinks from anyone that you don’t know.
- If you are unsure about your drink, don’t drink it.
How to be an Active Bystander
Do not tolerate jokes about spiking. As an active bystander, if you hear your friends or peers joking about or planning drink spiking or see something that is concerning, you can intervene if it is safe to do so. Remember the 4 Ds: Direct intervention, Distract, Delegate or Delay.
If you suspect your friend has been spiked:
- Stay with them and keep talking to them.
- Don’t let them go home on their own or leave them with someone you don’t know or trust.
- Try to prevent them from drinking more alcohol as this can worsen their condition.
- Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates.
Signs of Drink Spiking
Drugs used to spike drinks are very difficult to detect as they are tasteless, colourless and odourless. Additional alcohol is also hard to detect in alcoholic drinks. The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what substance was used and if it is mixed with other substances, e.g. alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs. Symptoms could include:
- Lowered inhibitions
- Loss of balance
- Feeling sleepy
- Visual problems
What to do if you suspect you were spiked:
· Get help from a trusted friend or a member of staff at the venue. Do not accept help from strangers, unless they are official employees of a venue.
· Do not go on public transport, get in a taxi or walk home alone.
· Report to the Police. Call 999 if at risk or 101 if in a place of safety. Police can test blood, urine, drinks and vomit for drugs. Drugs can leave the body in as little as 12 hours after consumption so it’s important to report and get tested quickly.
· Seek medical advice. If seriously unwell, someone you trust should take you to your nearest A&E department; otherwise call 111 or consult your GP. If you suspect spiking by injection seek testing for infections such as hepatitis and HIV. A&E do not offer toxicology tests and will only perform tests for drugs when it is necessary to determine medical treatment.
· Report to the University through the Report + Support tool to access support from AUB student services’ wellbeing team and specialist services. The University will then contact you to discuss your report further before taking any action.
· Information on student services support or external support options can be found at https://reportandsupport.aub.ac.uk/support/what-support-is-available-to-me.