Once again there are reports of drink spiking on Oxford Street. This is a crime we know little about and much of what is reported in the media is inaccurate. Drink spiking does happen and we know most about those spikings that lead to another crime being committed such as drug-assisted sexual assault or drug-assisted robbery.

We know that alcohol is the drug that is most likely to be used in drink spiking, although that is rarely reported. It is Rohypnol, ketamine and GHB that are usually talked about but research has shown over and over again that these drugs, although routinely checked for, are rarely identified when someone is tested after an alleged spiking.

A study released in the UK provides a little more evidence about the prevalence of drink spiking and the drugs that are most likely to be used. The report examined 120 drink spiking cases from November 2004 to October 2005 and is believed to be the first study of its size investigating drug rape.

Of the 120 people examined, 57 had traces of controlled or prescribed drugs in their systems, including cannabis in 20 percent of cases, cocaine in 17 percent and amphetamines (including ecstasy) in nine percent.

In all, the study concluded that there were only 12 drug-assisted assaults. None involved Rohypnol and just two involved another date-rape drug, GHB. Ten were suspected drug-assisted assaults involving other sedatives or drugs.

The findings also revealed 119 of the 120 alleged victims admitted they had been drinking alcohol and forensic tests discovered evidence of alcohol in 52 percent of cases.

The study found that in most cases, the alleged victims had consumed alcohol voluntarily and, in some cases, to dangerous levels. Twenty-two of the cases were two to three times above the legal drink-drive alcohol limit.

So what does this tell us -“ is it saying that drink spiking doesn’t happen and that these people were simply drunk? Absolutely not. It does tell us that drugs like Rohypnol and GHB are unlikely to be used in drug rape.

Realistically, any drink spiker worth their salt is not going to use a drug that can be easily identified. There have been cases in the media recently where perpetrators of this crime have been caught and the drugs they were using had previously never even been considered by authorities. Although we have amazing equipment, unless we know what we’re looking for, we’re never going to find it.

Possibly the most important thing to remember is that someone who is sober is more than likely not to be targeted by a spiker. Whatever drug that is put into a drink will have much more of an effect if the person is already affected by alcohol.

So an extremely important message to get out is that if you are drinking alcohol you are immediately a potential target for a drink spiker and should take precautions accordingly.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?/p>

© Star Observer 2018 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.