Unfortunately, while people are looking to have a good time this festive period, there are some looking to take advantage of others. As spirits run high, inevitably people will drop their guard… This is regretfully when drink spiking occurs. Who is most likely to fall victim to drink spiking? What can you do to protect yourself over Christmas and the New Year? Is it possible to test your drink for drugs?
Some may think ‘Drink Spiking’ is an issue consigned to the history books or the TV. But unfortunately, we are seeing a new wave of news stories about spiking cases, which has lead some commentators to suggest the problem is as bad (if not worse) than it has ever been.
Drink spiking is underreported and, on the rise, and the nefarious reasons why people spike drinks is worrying. It’s important to know the risks whilst enjoying the festive nights out over the coming weeks.
Ladies and Gents: Protect Yourself from Drink Spiking
Yes, gents. Drinking spiking is not solely a problem for young women. 1 in 3 women have either been spiked themselves or know someone who has. For men, that number is 1 in 5. While those aged 18 and 24 fall into a high-risk group, 14% of those aged between 24 and 49 say they have personally been spiked.
Whilst these numbers are alarming, we still don’t know for certain the prevalence of spiking. A recent Home Affairs inquiry report said more is needed to be done.2 This doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence to enjoy a night out with friends at a party, in a bar or club, or when overseas.
What Can You Do?
Here is some advice from a UK police force:3
- Never leave your drink unattended whether it’s alcoholic or not and if you can, keep an eye on your friends’ drinks.
- Be careful about accepting a drink from someone you do not know.
- Think about drinking bottled drinks and avoid sharing drinks.
- Always make sure you know how you are getting home and only use reputable means of transport. Where possible, have your taxi home booked in advance.
- If you think your drink has been tampered with, don’t drink it – tell a trusted friend or relative and police as soon as you can.
- If you see suspicious activity report it to staff or Police.
This is great advice, and you can go one step further – test your drink.
ADVICE: Use a Drink Spike Test
Yes, you can use a drink spike test, sometimes called a drug adulteration test. CYD (Check Your Drink) is a compact and discreet test strip that can detect the two main ‘date rape’ drugs used in the UK – GHB and KETAMINE. Stored in a resealable foil pouch, the test can be used anywhere. You simply add two drops of your drink on to the two swatches. If they change colour, even if very faintly, within 10-30 seconds, the drink has been spiked. Do NOT continue to drink and alert someone you trust immediately and inform the police and venue staff.
Why Use a Drug Adulteration Test?
Firsthand stories and experiences of drink spiking, are very concerning and the effects are terrifying for the victim. Having a test that tells victims, friends, medics, or venue staff that someone has been drugged, means action can take place immediately, a venue can be alerted to possible drink spiking and CCTV can be viewed quickly for a suspected drink spiker. Without a test, speculation and a lack of appropriate action can lead to repeat drink spiking or a victim’s condition being ignored or brushed off, leaving the victim in a vulnerable state.
Don’t be Fearful, be Vigilant
Awareness of the problem is the first step and if you follow the police advice and test your drink you are in a better place. There are tools and measures to protect yourself if ever you are concerned, have left your drink unattended, or are considering drinking from a communal drink (such as a fishbowl) or been bought a drink by a stranger. Being vigilant dramatically decrease the chances of falling victim to this awful crime. Keep safe, have fun, and enjoy those special times with friends and family.
- One in nine women say they have had their drink spiked | YouGov
- Fight against spiking hampered by lack of understanding and poor victim support – Committees – UK Parliament
- Drink spiking | What is it and how to prevent it (psni.police.uk)