Skip Navigation

Drink spiking

Drink spiking is when someone puts drugs or alcohol into your drink without you knowing. Evidence shows that alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in these situations in Europe..

Drugs can come in powder or liquid form. They may not have an unusual taste or smell.

There are many reasons why someone might spike a drink.

The most common reasons are:

Drink spiking does not only target females. Anyone can be targeted.

Drink spiking is a crime whatever the reason it is carried out for.

'Date rape drugs'

Some drugs are termed as 'Date rape drugs' for their use in assalts. Thney are generally depressant type drugs and work by slowing down your nervous system and dulling your responses. They make it harder for you to resist an assault.

Some depressants are legally prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. But when taken without knowing, these drugs leave you vulnerable to danger.

Date rape drugs will affect your behaviour and the messages that you give out to other people. You will not be fully in control of yourself and someone could take advantage of you.

Date rape drugs can start to take effect within 5 minutes of being taken, or up to an hour afterwards.

Symptoms of drink spiking

Most date rape drugs take effect within 30 minutes, and symptoms usually last for several hours.

But if you pass out, it'll be hard to know the full effect. You may still feel some of the symptoms of a date rape drug after a night's sleep.

Although your symptoms will depend on which substance has been used, they usually include some of the following:

How to avoid drink spiking

If your drink has been spiked, it's unlikely that you'll see, smell or taste any difference. Some drugs, such as GHB, may taste slightly salty or smell unusual.

If you start to feel strange or more drunk than you should be, get help immediately.

The following steps may help prevent drink spiking:

What to do if your drinks been spiked

First, tell someone you completely trust, such as:

If you are not with anyone, call someone you trust and get to a safe place. Ask to use a phone if yours has been stolen.

If you need urgent help, call 999. Be wary of accepting help from a stranger and do not leave with someone you do not know.

If you feel unwell, someone you trust should take you to your nearest emergency department (ED). Tell the medical staff that you think your drink's been spiked.

Arrange for a trusted friend or relative to take you home and stay with you until the drugs have fully left your system.

Report it to the police as soon as you can. They may ask you to provide blood and urine samples.

Most drugs leave the body within 72 hours of being taken. The drug GHB leaves the body within 12 hours, so it's important to be tested as soon as possible.

If you're abroad, get help from a travel representative or local medical services, or ask a bar or hotel manager to call local police.

If you have been sexually assaulted, you should get medical attention as soon as possible.

You may need tests to determine if you have any sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or if you're pregnant.


Get support 

Share this:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn
  • E-mail
The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
Poll Poll

Have you ever been impacted negatively by someone else's drug taking?