According to the most recent YouGov survey, 11% of women and 6% of men in the UK have previously had their drink spiked.
Additionally, 12% and 8% of men said they also knew someone else who had previously had their drink spiked without their knowledge. Due to the crime being widely underreported across the UK, the true figures are thought to be much higher.
Matt Mahatme, ex-bartender and founder of tonic mixer brand Lixir Drinks said, “Everyone should feel safe to enjoy themselves without worrying about being spiked. However, there are ways to help look out for yourself and others whilst drinking with your safety in mind.”
“Here are a few signs to look out for that may mean your drink or a friend’s has been spiked.”
Sudden and extreme intoxication
The number of drinks it takes to become intoxicated varies from person to person but on average, it is around 4-5 drinks for men and 3-4 standard drinks for women within two hours. If you find yourself intoxicated after one standard drink, for example, it could mean you’ve been spiked.
Loss of coordination and motor skills
Certain drugs or substances can affect the nervous system which leads to impaired coordination and motor skills. These include stumbling, inability to walk, loss of balance, and/ or dizziness. If these are not usually behavioural changes you experience when consuming your usual amount of alcohol then this may indicate your drink has been tampered with.
Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
Some illegal substances can cause muscle relaxation which includes those involved in speech production. When someone becomes intoxicated through normal alcohol consumption, slurred speech can also occur, but it typically happens gradually as alcohol affects various parts of the brain and body. In the case of drink spiking, the onset of slurred speech may be more sudden and pronounced, which can raise suspicion that something other than alcohol is causing the impairment.
Nausea or vomiting
When a drink is spiked with such substances, the body’s natural response can include nausea and vomiting as a way to expel the foreign or harmful substances. It is the body’s natural defence mechanism and if you’ve not drunk very much alcohol before you find yourself vomiting, you could have been spiked.
Lixir advises anyone who thinks a friend or themselves has been spiked to alert a member of staff or a security guard if you’re at a venue, stay with your friend to keep them awake and talking, don’t let them go home alone or with someone else, and report the incident to the police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Once reported to the police, officers may take a non-invasive urine sample as soon as possible as some drugs used to spike drinks leave the body within 12 hours.