Spiking is often seen as something done by a stranger or someone you’ve met on a night out. The truth is that some people who commit spiking offences know their victims. In some cases, they are relatives, friends or work colleagues.
Although spiking can be linked to other offences, such as sexual assault or theft, a large proportion of cases are not.
Offenders sometimes spike as a misguided joke (‘prank spiking’) or to see what happens. But spiking can be a terrifying experience. It can leave victims with lasting anxiety, particularly around clubs, bars and other venues.
And spiking is always an offence, even if nothing else happens or an attempt at theft or assault fails.
Many victims wrongly think that there is no point in reporting spiking on its own. Yet spiking can leave victims traumatised for a long time. We would like to know about any spiking incidents, so that we take action to prevent it happening again.
It can be hard to tell if someone was spiked or had too much to drink. But in any case, it’s important to make sure that they are safe. If they need emergency medical assistance, call an ambulance or take them to a hospital.
As for the amount of alcohol the victim had, that’s largely irrelevant. We won’t judge victims for having had alcohol voluntarily. It’s still possible that someone gave them more alcohol than they were expecting. For example, by giving them double shots instead of single ones.
It’s also true that even a small amount of alcohol can make you feel like someone spiked you. Your body can react differently to a small amount of alcohol, for example depending on whether you had anything to eat or if you’re tired.
But spiking happens regardless of whether the victim had willingly had a few drinks or took illegal drugs on a night out – or none at all. The victim is never to blame.
Needle spiking is rare. It’s almost impossible to inject drugs into someone’s body without them noticing it. Injecting an amount that would cause a victim to be affected by it would take a lot more than a quick jab.
That does not mean that needle spiking does not take place. We want to hear about any needle spiking incidents. We can give the victim the support they need, protect others and get a better insight into the number of needle spiking incidents.
If someone has spiked your drink, it’s unlikely that you will be able to smell, taste or see any difference. But some drugs do make a drink taste saltier or smell slightly.
If your drink tastes different than it did before, there’s a chance that someone may have spiked it. If you notice a salty or bitter taste in your drink, it’s possible that drugs were added. If your drink tastes funny, don’t drink it. Tell a member of staff.
'Date-rape drugs' are sometimes used to spike a victim’s drink. These can be any drug that incapacitates a victim. This leaves them vulnerable to sexual assault, for example.
But many other drugs can be used to spike someone. Our forensic test can detect over a hundred types of drugs, including those that some people take voluntarily as 'recreational drugs'. We won't judge you if you took illegal drugs before someone spiked you, but it helps if you tell us so that we can identify which drugs may have been used to spike you.
Alcohol could be used in an attempt to make you more susceptible to a sexual assault. Spiking can be giving someone alcohol without their knowledge or more alcohol than they were expecting.
Myth: I can’t report spiking if I took illegal drugs voluntarily
We understand that you may have had a few drinks or taken illegal drugs voluntarily on a night out. We won’t judge you and we won’t search you. It’s not illegal to have drugs in your bloodstream unless you’ve been driving.
All we ask is for you to tell us what drugs you’ve taken voluntarily. This helps us to identify which drugs might have been used to spike you. But if you don’t want to tell us, that’s fine.
Spiking victims may be reluctant to report it. That could be because they feel there is no evidence. They wrongly think that the police won’t investigate. Or that they have left it too late to report. As a result, we believe that there are many victims who have not come forward to seek our help and support.
You can report spiking to the police online. We want to hear about any spiking incident. It doesn’t matter how long ago it took place, even if it was weeks, months or years.
Your report is important to us. We train our officers to understand and support victims of this terrible crime and do all we can to find the individuals responsible.
If you report spiking to us, you also help us get a better insight into the number of spiking incidents.