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See it –  if you see anything suspicious act straight away to ensure we catch out spikers

Test it –  ask the venue for a drink testing kit or be safe and carry CYD

Report it – tell the venue, Uni staff and ring 101 – rapid testing is key


Anyone – spiking happens to one in 10 students of all orientations

Any drink – remember any drink can be spiked

Anywhere  – spiking happens at house parties as well as clubs, pubs and festivals

In most cases, being spiked involves someone adding something to your drink. This is usually a substance like a ‘date rape’ drug or alcohol. Spiking someone is illegal (up to 10 years in jail), but people who have been spiked often don’t report it. We want to change that – so those spiking others get caught.

Everyone should feel safe to enjoy themselves without worrying about being spiked and nine out of ten people do, but surveys show that one in 10 young adults think they have had their drink spiked, so stay aware – for your friends too The drugs used for spiking don’t smell or taste either, so many people don’t realise their drink has been spiked until later.

Drink spiking – how do I know?

You can’t tell from the smell or taste if a drink has been spiked, the ice doesn’t sink either. It’s not always easy to spot the signs and symptoms of spiking either because they’re similar to being very drunk. 

  • Signs include confusion, black out or passing out, nausea or being sick, A sudden change in behaviour (e.g. Being okay then seeming extremely drunk very quickly) , difficulty speaking, problems with balance, movement and coordination, hallucinations & paranoia.

Often it won’t be until the next day that someone will realise what has happened.

What should you do if you think you’ve been spiked?

drink spiking image

 It can be difficult to recognise the symptoms, but if you do you should: 

  • Tell someone you trust and ask them to stay with you.  
  • If you are in a bar or club, tell a member of staff or security.  Ask for the drink to be tested and for them to keep it as evidence.
  • If you feel in danger or unwell call 999. You can also text 999 if you’re registered for text support.  
  • If you feel able and comfortable to, make a report to the police as soon as possible via 101. Some substances used for spiking can’t be detected after 72 hours or even 12 hours, so doing this as early as possible can help the police gather evidence and look at CCTV.  
  • Being spiked can be very traumatic . For help, contact Victim Support via: 08 08 16 89 111  and services such as Rape Crisis provide support and advice to people who’ve experienced sexual assault and violence.  

How can I help prevent being spiked

Spiking should not happen and having a drink spiked is never your fault. Here are some things you and your friends can do to try and keep yourself safe from spiking:  

  1. Go out with trusted friends and look out for each other.
  2. Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have a locator on such as snapchat or findmyfriends.
  3. It’s safer to not accept a drink from someone you don’t know. or take the drink from the server directly.
  4. Don’t leave your drinks, alcoholic or otherwise unattended.
  5. Consider sticking to bottled drinks and avoiding punch bowls or jugs of cocktails.
  6. Don’t give out your address/ number to someone you’ve just met.
  7. If you think your drink has been tampered with, don’t drink it – tell a trusted friend or relative immediately.
  8. Before going out, let someone know where you’re going and what time you expect to be home
  9. Make plans for your journey home, if possible before you head out.
  10. Try to avoid drinking too much alcohol, especially in unfamiliar situations. You could lose control, make risky decisions and become less aware of danger.
  11. If you see someone acting unusually or trying to add something to someone’s drink, report them immediately. 
  12. Be aware of what’s going on around you and try to stay in control. Also be aware of your date’s ability to consent to sex – you may become guilty of committing rape if the other person is not in a condition to respond or react
  13. When in bars or clubs, get your drink directly from the bartender. Keep your eyes on your order.
  14. If you have reason to suspect that your drink has been spiked, test your drink with CYD. These strips analyse your drinks and give a clear indication if it has been spiked with MDMA or Ketamine.
  15. Remember that Spiking is common at private parties, not just bars and clubs and that  any drink can be spiked alcoholic or not.

How can I support someone who I think has been spiked?

It can be very distressing to see the signs and symptoms of a friend being spiked. Try to stay as calm as possible: 

  • Support them to a safe space and stay with them – call another friend person to help if you can. 
  • If you are in a bar or club, tell a member of staff or security.  
  • Try to prevent your friend from drinking any more alcohol. 
  • Keep talking to your friend to reassure them. 
  • Don’t let them go home on their own, or with anyone they don’t know and trust. 
  • Call an ambulance or take them to A and E if they get worse. 
  • Support them to take a drug test – Although medical help should be the priority via 111, or in an emergency 999, it is the police who conduct drug testing for spiking incidents. Police testing is done by taking a non-invasive urine sample. Some drugs can leave the body in a very short time so it is important to test as soon as possible. Other drugs remain in the body longer, so testing will still be considered up to seven days after the incident. Full test results take approximately three weeks but in some areas additional fast time tests may be conducted. The  local police force can provide further information on testing initiatives in your area.
  • Always report to the police – In an emergency (for example if the perpetrator is still present) call 999; otherwise report online or call 101. Spiking is a criminal offence, and all types of spiking incidents will be recorded.
    • Early reporting will also help preserve additional evidence e.g. securing drinks, CCTV, witness details etc.  Only then can we  know the nature and scale of the problem.
    • Spiking is never the victim’s fault and asking victims to speak out will help end spiking and stop it happening to other people. victims want to stop it happening to other people. Information given will be used to catch out spikers.  
    • While the police do not condone the taking of illegal drugs, it is not a crime to have them in someone’s system, so their focus on identifying offenders that are committing spiking related crimes.  
  • If you, or someone you know, has had their drink spiked, ‘I’ve been spiked’ gathers detail on cases to gathered evidence to show the extent of spiking and where it is happening. Please do complete their survey and help us stamp out these shocking assaults. If you or someone needs support, please contact
Drink spiking factsheet

Other help and support

Rape Crisis – information, help and support after sexual abuse, rape and all forms of sexual violence. The Rape Crisis national freephone helpline operates 12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year. 0808 802 9999

Victim support helps people affected by all types of crime and provides free confidential support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for people affected by crime and traumatic events — regardless of whether they have reported the crime to the police. 08 08 16 89 111

For further help and support, please contact

Read next Helping someone who is drunk

See our downloadable resources:

drink spiking poster
drink spiking information card