What is spiking?
‘Spiking’ is when someone puts alcohol or drugs into another person’s drink or their body without their knowledge and/or consent.
Spiking someone could be a number of criminal offences, which can carry sentences of up to ten years in prison; even when no other offence, like theft or assault, has happened.
The most common way that people are spiked is by someone adding alcohol to their non-alcoholic drink, or extra alcohol to their alcoholic one, without their knowledge and/or consent.
However, drugs (legal or illegal) can also be added to drinks or put in someone’s body in another way, such as:
- Giving someone a drug but telling them it is a different dosage or a different drug altogether – for example, a drug that is commonly prescribed or sold as medicine.
- Injecting it into them with a syringe.
These are just two examples of other ways that people might be spiked with drugs , there are more ways.
Someone can be spiked with any type of drug, including:
- Illegal drugs that are commonly taken on nights out or at parties – for example, Ecstasy (also known as ‘MD’, ‘MDMA’, ‘Pills’, ‘Mandy’ or ‘Molly’), Ketamine, GBL or LSD. These are sometimes known as ‘party drugs’ or ‘club drugs’.
- Drugs that have become known for their use by people who commit spiking in order to rape, sexually assault or sexually abuse someone – for example, Rohypnol, GHB or GBL. These are commonly known as ‘date rape drugs’. However, people often also take these drugs out of choice, including on nights out or at parties.
- Prescription medicines, such as sedatives, tranquilisers and opiates – for example, Valium or Xanax.
The effect on the victim or survivor will depend on several factors:
- What they were spiked with.
- How much they were spiked with.
- If they had already consumed alcohol or taken drugs and how much they consumed.
- Their size and weight.
Symptoms of spiking include:
- feeling or being sick
- feeling ‘strange’ or drunker than expected
- feeling confused or disorientated
- feeling sleepy
- blurred or slowed vision, or trouble seeing properly
- loss of balance or coordination
- having trouble communicating
- having hallucinations
- acting strangely or out of character
These symptoms might start to come into effect within 15 minutes, depending on what a person has been spiked with. Symptoms can last for several hours.
If you think you've been spiked
- If you think you or a friend has been spiked it’s important to tell someone as soon as you can.
- Alert a member of staff or security if you're at a venue.
- Stay with your friend and keep talking to them.
- Don’t let them go home on their own or leave with someone you don’t know.
- Report to the police online, on 101 or, in an emergency, call 999.
If you or someone else have symptoms
- If you are worried call 111.
- Call an ambulance if the symptoms get worse.
If you think there may have been a sexual assault
- Go to your nearest sexual assault referral centre (SARC) for specialist care and support.
- Letting people know gives the best chance of looking after you and gathering any evidence where a crime may have taken place.
How to reduce the risk of spiking
Everyone should feel safe to enjoy themselves without worrying about being spiked. However, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of spiking, whilst keeping yourself and others safe.
- Watch out for your friends and look after each other.
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- Be cautious if you are bought or given a drink – consider only accept drinks from people you know and trust.
- Be wary if people are reaching over your drinks.
- Alert staff immediately if you see anyone acting suspiciously around your or someone else's drink.
- If you or a friend feel unwell, seek help from staff or call an ambulance immediately.
We believe spiking is Never OK.
Spiking hurt individuals and communities, and reporting it allows the University and the police to better understand and deal with what is happening.
- To the Police. If you want to report stalking incidents directly to the police, you can call 101 for a non-emergency, use their online reporting form, or call 999 in an emergency.
- Report to the University and get Support. Students and staff can report an incident using the University’s Report and Support system. You can choose to do this anonymously or you can request support from an adviser. If you choose to talk to an adviser they will be able to talk through the options and support available to you, in confidence.
- University Policies. If you choose to make a formal complaint to the University about a student or member of staff there are procedures which set out the steps you'll need to follow.
- Talk to a friend. Talking things through with someone you trust can sometimes help.
- Rape Crisis England and Wales. Further information is available on spiking, date rape and more.
- Drinkaware. More information again on spiking and date rape drugs.
- Student Life Adviser. An adviser can talk through the University's procedures, how to make a complaint and what support is available, in confidence.
- Residential Life Team. Whether it is your neighbourhood Student Services Resident (SSR) or the Duty SSR, if you are living in UEA residences there is someone to talk to.
- The uea(su) Advice Service is a free, confidential service. Advisers can support students who have been named in a disciplinary report for breach of the General Regulations for Students, and can talk through the procedure, what options are available and help you complain if you are unhappy with the process.
- Exceptional circumstances. If you feel your studies have been affected by what has happened you can consider applying for exceptional circumstances.
- Human Resource Adviser. An adviser can talk through the options available whether the incident involved another staff member at UEA, a student, or a visitor to campus.
- Health Assured - Employee Assistance Programme. This free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year service is available to all UEA staff. The programme offers confidential support independent from UEA, with professional consultation, counselling, information, resources and referrals to services in your local area.
Find out what other support is available.
- Are you in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured call 999.
- Find a safe space. If an incident has just happened, try and find somewhere you feel safe.
- On campus. If you are at the University you can call University Security on 01603 592222 for emergencies (01603 592352 for non-emergencies).
- If you are in UEA Accommodation? Call your Duty Student Services Resident (SSR) who can respond from 6pm to 7am during weekdays and over the entire weekend.
Are you worried about someone else who has been spiked?
If you think someone you know has been spiked there are lots of ways in which you can help them.
Understanding the symptoms and what to do if someone is spiked is a good place to start. Most people will usually describe what has or is happening to them and how it's making them feel.
You can find more information and advice on the I'm worried about someone else page.