Looking forward to your Christmas office party? Perhaps you’re looking to let your hair down on New Year’s Eve…
Beware the dangers of drink spiking, and be mindful of these considerations for safe drinking.
It Could Happen To You… (Or Me.)
I’m Nicole, and I recently joined the commercial team at Abingdon Simply Test. Drink spiking is something I am, unfortunately, all too familiar with having been a victim myself; as have people close to me. And let me tell you, it is scary!
I was lucky to be with my boyfriend at the time who took care of me, but there are so many horror stories out there reminding me often of what could have happened – and what does happen every day to other victims.
As the festive season gets into full swing, everyone needs to be aware of the dangers of drink spiking and what you can do to help prevent such occurrences.
Statistics show that one in three women and one in five men are affected by drink spiking. And, according to research presented to Parliament by Dawn Dines, founder of Stamp Out Spiking, only 3% of victims report incidents of spiking (I didn’t), so the true number of victims is likely to be much higher.
The House of Commons committee report on Spiking in April 2022 found a “substantial increase” in spiking across the UK, with 81% of victims reported to be students. A 2022 Government Survey found that 34% of the UK had been spiked or knew of someone who had. (Spiking – Home Affairs Committee (parliament.uk)
There seems to be a general misconception attached to drink spiking that only sexual predators are responsible, but some people report being spiked “for laughs”. Being humiliated in public is something that is unfathomably funny to some, but terrifying to the victim who often can’t remember their actions.
This new craze of “drink spiking for fun” is more concerning than ever. Why? Because drink spiking on its own isn’t actually a chargeable offence, it must be accompanied by malicious intent.
According to the Metropolitan Police, “most spiking cases are offences” – under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (when Actual Bodily Harm is caused by intentional or reckless assault by another person; this also covers the use of harmful substances) and The Sexual Offences Act 2003, “which covers cases where someone spikes a victim to sexually assault them”.
This means drink spiking is not currently recognised as a standalone offence! So, a stranger could spike you ‘for a laugh’ and leave you vulnerable, with no recourse because they ‘didn’t mean any harm’… Labour leaders are pushing to change this and make drink spiking a chargeable offence in its own right and to carry a sentence for up to 4 years regardless of the intention, and I think it’s high time for such a change.
What is Used for Drink Spiking?
Drink spiking can relate to any substance put into someone’s drink without permission, even alcohol, but two of the most commonly used substances for drink spiking is Ketamine and GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate).
Be In The Know! Common Symptoms:
The symptoms of drink spiking vary, but most commonly reported side effects include:
- Disorientation or Poor Coordination
- Inability to Communicate
- Memory Loss
Prevention is by far the best solution; below are some tips to keep you safe.
- Never leave your drink unattended
- Be cautious when accepting drinks from others
- Keep a safe space around you
- Test your drink if you are suspicious, or get a new one
So What Can We Do To Keep Safe??? (I Mean REALLY Safe!)
It’s difficult to keep focussed on potential dangers in social situations when your aim is to have fun and unwind. As the drinks start flowing inhibitions loosen up and caution tends to be thrown to the wind. But what if you suspect your drink has been spiked? How can you even be sure before you make that assumption or report it? (Drugs often have no noticeable flavour and ‘taking a swig’ isn’t the safest way to find out…) And how can you make sure no one else gets spiked?
A key part of the solution includes drink spike test strips which are becoming more and more popular as an affordable and discreet way to check your drinks for certain drugs like Ketamine and GHB. These quick and easy to use test strips fit easily into your pocket or purse and can give an indication in seconds if your drink contains these two drugs. Quality approved options like Check Your Drink test strips are an affordable way to arm yourself against drink spiking opportunists and offer a level of reassurance before heading out to enjoy yourself with friends and loved ones.
Abingdon Simply Test offer their Check Your Drink (CYD) drink spiking tests on their website and Amazon, with a festive offer of 5 boxes of tests for the price of 4, so you can bag a bargain with 20% off orders of 50 test strips. You can’t put a price on peace of mind when it comes to drink spiking… I should know!
And if you’re affected by this issue or the information in this blog, This Morning recently shared a great list of organisations providing free support. It’s ok not to be ok…