Spiking a drink with substances such as alcohol or drugs or spiking by injection (regardless of any motivation, e.g. sexual violence/theft) are serious criminal offences with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and also constitute serious disciplinary offences within the University with sanctions including expulsion or dismissal. 

One of the most common motivations for spiking is to commit a sexual offence. Perpetrators who choose to spike another person are committing a sexual offence whether or not they commit any other form of sexual violence. There is no excuse for spiking and all guilt and responsibility lies with the perpetrator. The victim is never to blame. 

Safety Advice

Do not add any substance (including alcohol) to another person’s drink without their consent. Doing this can cause serious and dangerous health consequences for the victim along with emotional and psychological trauma. 
There are no guaranteed ways for individuals to prevent another person from spiking and the person subjected to spiking is never at fault. The following actions can help make it more difficult for a perpetrator to spike your drink.  Perpetrators will spike any type of drink, including non-alcoholic drinks, and spiking can occur at any venue, public or private, including parties in houses. If your drink is spiked, it is not your fault. 
  • Watch your and your friends’ drinks being served. 
  • Use an anti-drink spiking device, such as a Spikey or lid cover. 
  • Never leave drinks unattended - keep them in your hand or in sight. 
  • Do not accept drinks from anyone that you don’t know. 
  • If you are unsure about your drink, don’t drink it. 

How to be an Active Bystander

Do not tolerate jokes about spiking. As an active bystander, if you hear your friends or peers joking about or planning drink spiking or see something that is concerning, you can intervene if it is safe to do so. Remember the 4 D’s: Direct intervention, Distract, Delegate or Delay. 

If you suspect your friend has been spiked: 
  • Stay with them and keep talking to them. 
  • Don’t let them go home on their own or leave them with someone you don’t know or trust. 
  • Try to prevent them from drinking more alcohol as this can worsen their condition. 
  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates. 

Signs of Drink Spiking

Drugs used to spike drinks are very difficult to detect as they are tasteless, colourless and odourless. Additional alcohol is also hard to detect in alcoholic drinks. The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what substance was used and if it is mixed with other substances, e.g. alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs. Symptoms could include: 
  • Lowered inhibitions 
  • Loss of balance 
  • Feeling sleepy 
  • Visual problems 
  • Confusion 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Unconsciousness 


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