This is how you can tell if your drink has been spiked

And what to do if it has

After so long in lockdown, clubs and bars are fully open again and things are starting to feel way more normal. A tragic side-effect of this re-opening is the return of drink spiking.

Last month, The Tab spoke to a number of young people who’d been spiked in the week that saw clubs open their doors. But drink spiking is nothing new.

According to research by The BBC there were 2,650 reports of drink spiking in England and Wales between 2015-19. The report also found that three quarters of drink spiking victims were women and around 10 per cent were under 18 years of age.

Here’s how you can tell if your drink has been spiked and what action you should take if it has:

What symptoms could you feel?

It’s unlikely that your drink will taste or smell any different if you’ve been spiked, but you could experience a range of different symptoms within around 15-30 minutes.

According to Drinkaware, those symptoms could include: lowered inhibitions, loss of balance, visual problems, confusion, nausea, vomiting and even unconsciousness.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, Drinkaware medical advisor, says: “The symptoms will depend on lots of factors such as the substance or mix of substances used (including the dose), your size and weight, and how much alcohol you have already consumed.”

Symptoms could last for several hours and it’s important that if you are experiencing any of them that you should get help immediately.

What should you do if you think a friend has been spiked?

If you suspect a friend has been spiked, you should stay with them and not allow them to go home on their own or with anyone you don’t know. If their condition deteriorates, you should call an ambulance.

You could also inform a bouncer or bar manager that you suspect your friend has been spiked.

How can you reduce the risk of getting spiked?

Obviously the responsibility of drink spiking shouldn’t be placed on the victims of the toxic practice, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of getting spiked.

Sarah Green, co-director at the End Violence Against Women Coalition told The Independent: “Fundamentally, we have to tackle from a young age those who develop ideas and behaviours that they are entitled to treat women this way.”

Dr Jarvis added: “Get into the habit of never leaving your drink unattended and don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know. Keep an eye on your drink at all times – don’t go off and dance then come back and drink the rest.”

Some clubs also hand out drink stoppers for the top of your drink and even testing kits.

For more information on drink spiking, please head to Drinkaware.

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