What is spiking?

Spiking can occur in a range of ways and is a crime. It is where a substance is given to someone else without their knowledge and consent. It is often done with the intention of facilitating or carrying out a criminal offence including sexual assault, physical assault or robbery.

Spiking may involve:
  • Adding excess alcohol to someone's drink, for example buying someone a drink and adding extra shots of alcohol that the recipient is not expecting
  • Adding a substance to someone's drink including illegal drugs or prescription drugs (stimulants, tranquilisers, sedatives, opiates)
  • Causing someone to take an illegal or prescription drug without their knowledge or consent
  • Injecting someone with a substance using a syringe

How to prevent spiking?

  • Never leave your drink unattended, even for a short time
  • Be vigilant and let others know where you are if you get separated from friends
  • Don't accept a drink from someone you don't know
  • Don't drink anyone else's drink
  • If someone buys you a drink then make sure you watch it being poured and to take it from the bar staff directly
  • If your drink tastes strange throw it away
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol by observing the UK low risk drinking guidelines
  • Stay with friends and look out for each other

Symptoms of spiking

The symptoms of spiking will depend on the substance used, how much has been consumed/injected, how much alcohol has been consumed already, the size and weight of the individual.

Some drugs can make someone feel weak, out-of-control or feeling as if they are going to pass out.

Other symptoms can also include:
  • Feeling sleepy or going unconscious
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Visual impairment or hallucinations
  • Loss of balance
  • Unusual reactions or intolerance

What to do if you think you or someone you're with has been spiked?

  • Seek urgent medical attention if unwell particularly if symptoms get worse via 999 or 111 or attending a local hospital
  • Report as soon as possible to the police via 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency
  • If you have been sexually assaulted or think you may have been contact a sexual assault referral centre for support - in London you can contact The Havens
  • Find a safe place and stay with someone trusted - if in a bar you can speak to a member of staff or security, you can also 'Ask for Angela' if you feel vulnerable or threatened
  • Avoid going home alone or drinking more alcohol


There are two ways you can tell us what happened