Spiking is never the victims fault. However, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe and to look out for others when you are out or socialising.
If you think you are witness to spiking it is important to act if it is safe to do so. An appropriate intervention could prevent someone becoming a potential victim of harm and exploitation.
Signs of spiking appear suddenly and can include rapid changes in levels of intoxication, drowsiness, confusion vomiting, loss of consciousness or being disorientated. If you see someone experiencing these symptoms, report it to someone you trust, bar staff or the Police immediately. Dial 999 in an emergency.
Some helpful and safe Bystander Interventions are:
- Notice something is happening within the social venue/event
- Recognise that there is something potentially wrong
- Consider if you/others have a personal responsibility to intervene and how to do this safely
- Inform others if you have any concerns and allow staff/others to act
- In any situation where you are a bystander to a potentially unsafe or uncomfortable situation, you can use the 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention to help.
Keep yourself safe when socialising by:
- Never leaving your drink unattended, whether it is alcoholic or not
- Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know
- Don’t drink or taste anyone else’s drink
- Throw your drink away or take it back to the bar if it tastes strange or different
- Avoid drinking or taking substances which impact upon your safety and wellbeing
- Always stick together with friends and look out for each other, even when within smaller social gatherings. If you are leaving a venue early or going home alone make sure you let your friends know and have a plan for getting home safely
Spiking is when someone is given alcohol or drugs without their consent. Spiking can take different forms, it could be someone adding drugs or extra alcohol to your drink or spiking by injection. Drink spiking is the most common form of spiking and can also take place in private spaces/social events as well as in bars and nightclubs.
Being spiked is never the fault of the person who is spiked. Spiking is illegal and can put people at risk. The Police and other authorities such as health, licensing and hospitality venues all take spiking very seriously and investigate all reports.
If you, or someone you know, have been spiked or have witnessed someone being spiked call the Police on 101 or 999. If you suspect someone needs medical help – call NHS 24 on 111.
- Alert a trusted person immediately – bar staff, friend, family or security
- Ask someone you trust to get you out of the venue location where it has happened as quickly as possible. Once home ask a friend or relative to stay with you until the effects have worn off, don’t hesitate to call for medical help or any other form of assistance if needed
- Ask a friend or someone you trust to either take you home, or to hospital, if unwell
- If you feel unsafe or threatened, please speak to a member of staff and alert them
- Look out for ‘Ask for Angela’ posters in venues, normally found in the toilets or discreet areas, where a venue is supporting the scheme. In these venues if you ‘Ask for Angela’ the bar staff will know you need help
- You may wish to report it to the Police as soon as you can
- If you think you have been sexually assaulted and are unsure about reporting formally to the Police you can report to the Sexual Assault Response Co-ordination Service (SARCS)
- You can also access your GP, local pharmacy and NHS Sexual Health Services for medical advice and health screening
- There are national helplines and services available to you such as Rape Crisis Scotland – 08088 010302
- Tell the bar manager, security or a member of staff
- Stay with the person who has possibly been spiked and keep talking to them, giving reassurance if distressed
- Encourage them not to take any more alcohol or substances
- Call an ambulance if they become unwell
- Don’t let them go home on their own
- Don’t let them leave with someone they don’t know or trust
- Report it to the Police by calling 999 or 101