Cyann Fielding | Lifestyle Editor
TW: Spiking, Assault
As clubs have reopened, the scare and threat of spiking is on the rise. With university students across the UK responding with upcoming boycotts – students have become outraged that nights out (which are supposedly meant to be fun *and safe*) have turned into another worry. We all want change, and hopefully action will come soon. The current reality remains that many are to be in contact with someone who has been spiked or be the victim of being spiked themselves. Here’s how to handle a case of spiking and resources to help you in the days following being spiked:
1. Be aware what spiking means and includes and why people choose to do it
An individual’s drink can be spiked for multiple different motives: sexual assault, theft, or assault. In addition, it can be done in several ways – an individual can be spiked with alcohol, ‘date rape’ drugs (rohypnol ‘roofie’ and GHB), illegal drugs (ecstasy, LSD) and prescription drugs (stimulants or sedatives). Spiking can also take place in both alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages and the effects are unpredictable. With ‘date rape’ drugs for example, you usually cannot see, smell, or taste any difference in your drink, and they can take effect within 15-30 minutes.
2. Know the symptoms of being spiked
Symptoms include lowered inhibitions, loss of balance, feeling sleepy/drowsy, disruption to vision, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.
3.How to help someone who has been spiked
-Tell a bar manager, member of staff or security.
-Stay with them and keep talking to them (also try and get them to keep responding to you)
-Call an ambulance if their condition worsens
-Do not let them go home on their own
-Do not let them leave with someone you/they do not know &/ trust
-Do not let them drink more alcohol as this could cause a more serious issue
-Make sure you are familiar with the recovery position in case they are throwing up whilst lying down
4. Reporting assault
Unfortunately, one of the effects of date rape drugs can be amnesia or memory loss. This may mean that you or your friend may be uncertain on whether they were assaulted. If you suspect you have been, or a friend does then telling someone is important. This could be someone you trust, the police or even going to an emergency department. There is also the Rape Crisis charity helplines:
-England and Wales: 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30pm and 7-9:30pm every day)
-Scotland: 0808 801 0302 or text 07537 410 027 (6pm – midnight every day)
-Northern Ireland: 08000 246 991 (Monday and Thursday, 6-8pm)
5. Reporting spiking
Letting your university know is also important so they can make an investigation and hopefully prevent further spiking.
6. Further information
-Drink covers that also act as scrunchies are frequently available to buy online.
-Familiarise yourself with what to do if you or a friend is spiked via injection. If you are familiar with how to clean an injection wound and what to do after, you will reduce your chances of acquiring HIV.
Drink spiking is and will remain a serious crime and one that could have serious health consequences for the victim. Whilst education on how to stay safe in clubs and parties is important, real positive change comes from perpetrators of spiking being held to account.