Drink spiking is adding alcohol or drugs to someone’s drink without their knowledge. No matter how careful you are, you may become a victim of a spiked drink at a party, a game, or other social gatherings.
In this guide, we show you how to keep your drink safe, what warning signs to look out for, and what to do if you think your beverage has been spiked.
What Is a Spiked Drink?
Drink spiking occurs when alcohol or another substance is deliberately slipped into someone’s drink without their knowledge or permission. Drink spiking includes:
- Adding extra alcohol to an alcoholic drink.
- Placing alcohol into a non-alcoholic drink such as water, fruit juice, or soft drink.
- Slipping prescription or illegal drugs into an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink.
Drink spiking doesn’t only occur at bars. It can happen anywhere where beverages are served, including parties, pubs, restaurants, and private homes.
Drinks are spiked to make someone vulnerable for a variety of reasons, such as robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault, or simply as a joke.
No matter what the intent is, spiking drinks is a serious crime punishable by fines and up to ten years in prison. Even slipping alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink as a prank is against the law, also when the drink was not consumed and no one was harmed.
Besides drink spiking being illegal, it places the victim at a health risk. Mixing alcohol and stimulants may cause serious side effects such as heart attack, seizure, and stroke.
Most drink spiking victims are women between the ages of 15 and 30, but men are not completely safe from this type of crime either. Every year hundreds of people have their drinks spiked, although many instances go unreported because victims are embarrassed or afraid of speaking out. Some people don’t even realize what happened, thinking that they were just very drunk.
Now let’s see what drinks are usually spiked with.
What Drugs Are Used for Spiking a Drink?
In most cases, drinks are spiked with alcohol, either by slipping it to a non-alcoholic beverage or placing an additional shot into an alcoholic drink.
The most commonly used drugs for spiking drinks are antidepressants such as ketamine and diazepam (Valium). Drink spiking with gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), also known as liquid ecstasy, Rohypnol or roofie, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), is somewhat less frequent. Those substances are often referred to as date rape drugs, even though they are not always used for sexual assault.
Drink-spiking drugs come in powder, tablet, or liquid form. They are often colorless and odorless and may not affect the taste or smell of your drink.
So how can you tell if your drink was spiked?
Symptoms That Your Drink Was Spiked
Although many drugs that are used to spike drinks are not easy to detect, there are some warning signs to look out for:
- Your drink tastes different. If you suddenly notice an unusually bitter or salty taste in your drink, it may have been spiked.
- Your drink color has changed. Some drugs will turn your drink a darker or lighter color than it was before. Rohypnol, for example, dyes light-colored drinks blue when dissolved.
- Your drink has excessive bubbles on top. Some drugs fizz up when they react with drinks, however, this can be tricky to detect in carbonated drinks like soda or sparkling water.
- Your drink looks cloudy. If your beverage all of a sudden turns cloudy, it may be a sign that someone has slipped a substance in your glass.
If your drink was spiked, you will experience similar symptoms to being drunk:
- Difficulty concentrating or speaking
- Loss of balance
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Finding it hard to move
- Blurred vision
- Memory loss or blackouts
- Lowered inhibitions
- Feeling confused or disoriented
- Having an out-of-body experience
- Muscle spasms or seizures
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe hangover
Most date rape drugs take effect within 15-30 minutes of consuming the drink and the symptoms can last for several hours. Your symptoms will depend on the type and dose of the substance that was used to spike your drink, your height and weight, and how much alcohol you have consumed.
Women usually experience side effects of drink spiking more heavily than men. While women more frequently deal with the loss of balance, men often experience euphoria, excitement, and aggression after ingesting a spiked drink.
Here’s what you should do if you believe your drink was tampered with.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Drink Was Spiked
If you think your drink was spiked, you should:
- Alert a trusted person, such as a friend, a host, bar manager, bouncer, or member of staff and let them know what has happened.
- Go to a safe place and have a person you trust accompany you.
- See your doctor or go to the emergency department at the nearest hospital as soon as possible. Make sure to let them know that you suspect drink spiking. Urine and blood tests performed within the first 24 hours can detect the presence of most drugs.
- If you have been robbed or sexually assaulted, you should report the incident to the police. However, you don't have to do this immediately if you don’t want to. There are other services that can offer advice, treatment, and forensic examinations. They will store your information until you decide whether to report the incident or not.
- If your friend’s drink has been spiked, stay with them and keep talking to them. You should call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates or if they lose consciousness. Don’t let your friend go home on their own or with someone you don’t know or trust.
Fortunately, there are several precautions you can take to minimize the chances of your drink being spiked.
Tips to Prevent Drink Spiking
To protect yourself and your friends against drink spiking, make sure to:
- Party safely with trusted friends. You should stay in contact throughout the party and always leave the premises together.
- Let someone know where you are. If you are on a date with someone you don’t know well, tell a friend where you are going and when you are planning on being back.
- Always buy your own drinks. In case you accept the offer of a drink from a stranger, make sure to accompany them to the bar and take the drink from the bartender yourself.
- Always watch the bartender prepare your drink and don’t accept drinks that you didn’t see being poured or opened. Don’t forget that someone may have paid the bartender to spike your drink.
- If a drink tastes, looks, or smells unusual, stop drinking and pour it out.
- Never leave your drink unattended. If you need to leave your drink to go to a toilet or have a dance, ask someone you trust to watch it.
- Don’t share drinks. You should avoid punch bowls and cocktail jugs, as they are some of the easiest targets for drink spiking.
- Don’t flash cash, expensive jewelry, or electronics that could attract the attention of robbers.
- Never leave the party alone or have a stranger bring you home if you aren’t feeling well. If you are dizzy or feel as if you have drunk a lot when you’ve had none or very little alcohol, ask someone you trust to bring you home.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol by sticking to the low-risk drinking guidelines of a maximum of 4 drink units per day for men and 3 for women, or 14 drink units per week.
You may also consider purchasing one of the products specially designed to help you detect a spiked drink or prevent your beverage from being tampered with.
Products That Detect if Your Drink Was Spiked
Test My Drink
Test My Drink kits are designed to test the presence of the date rape drugs GHB and ketamine in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. You simply need to place a drop of your drink on each of the two test fields, smear them, and wait until they dry. If one of the spots turns darker blue, the test is positive. Some clubs give out similar testing kits with drug-detecting strips.
Xantus Drinkcheck wristband
The Xantus Drinkcheck wristband helps you to quickly and easily check whether your drink has been spiked with GHB. Just place a few drops of your drink on the test-field and wait for a couple of minutes. If the test-field turns blue, you will know that your drink contains the drug.
Spikey® bottle stopper
Anti date rape drug Spikey® bottle stoppers secure the top of your bottle to prevent others from slipping substances into your drink. Once inserted into the bottleneck, the stopper creates a seal that can’t be easily removed. The brightly colored plastic cap also glows in UV light, making it clear that your drink is protected. Some clubs and bars give out similar bottle stoppers for free.
Drink spiking can have serious consequences, including sexual assault and rape. Here’s what you should do if you were assaulted.
What Should You Do if You Suspect You Were Sexually Assaulted?
Drug-facilitated sexual assaults (DFSA) are a widespread problem. Estimates show that one-third of drink spiking incidents in the US are associated with a sexual attack.
Drugs such as Rohypnol, GHB, and ketamine are commonly used to commit physical and sexual assaults. These substances can easily sedate and incapacitate victims, making them more vulnerable. Besides, they are difficult to detect and victims often can’t remember being assaulted until many hours later.
If you suspect that you were sexually assaulted or raped after drink spiking, you may want to report the incident to the police. However, there is no need to do this immediately. Many people find it difficult to contact the police because they feel guilty or are afraid no one will believe them. Until you decide to report the assault, you can use other support services to help you deal with the traumatic experience.
However, you should contact your doctor or go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital as soon as possible so that they can take your blood and urine samples. If you have been sexually assaulted, you need to receive medical attention to check for any sexually transmitted diseases and internal injuries and evaluate the risk of pregnancy.
In addition, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline toll-free at 800.656.HOPE (4673). They will connect you to a trained staff member in your area who will help you to:
- Find a local health facility that cares for sexual assault survivors.
- Find a service that offers sexual assault forensic exams.
- Identify local resources to assist with healing and recovery.
- Get referrals for long-term support.
- Obtain details about laws in your state.
All calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline are confidential and your call won’t be reported to local or state officials unless it is required by your state’s laws.
Products to Help With a Hangover From a Spiked Drink
At Reset IV, we offer a range of hangover packages to help you recover from a night of partying and drinking:
Our hangover treatments are a quick and effective method to combat hangover symptoms like dehydration, nausea, headache, muscle aches, and upset stomach. An IV drip will also help rehydrate your body, flush out toxins, and restore nutrients you lost while drinking.
To learn more about our services and schedule your appointment, feel free to call Reset IV at 1-833-737-3848 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.