Over the past couple of weeks I have heard from a number of people who believe they have had their drink spiked. These people, both men and women, have been out with friends when they felt that something was not quite right -“ then the rest of the night was a blank. It was not until some time later when they came around that they had reports of what state they had been in.

These were not drug-na? people. They were regular drinkers and had been known to use illicit drugs on occasion. However, they all described the experience they had as different to anything else they had ever known.

If you look at the research to do with drink spiking, the key words seem to be, The night was a blank. The drugs used in drink spiking appear to be amnesic in effect and therein lies one of the greatest problems when it comes to collecting good information about the prevalence of this activity. People are often confused about exactly what happened and rarely report the incident until it is too late to collect vital information, i.e. tests to detect the presence of drugs.

The research that has been collected suggests that alcohol is the drug that is used most often in drink spiking incidents. Other drugs that have been identified include benzodiazepines (sleeping or anti-anxiety medications such as Rohypnol or Valium), GHB and ketamine.

GHB is a substance that is extremely difficult to identify in the body even after a very short time. The fact that it is amnesic in effect as well simply adds to the possibility that this is a drug that is being used by unscrupulous people. One positive note is that GHB usually has a very obvious taste and smell and cannot be disguised easily -“ anybody who thinks their drink has been tampered with should dispose of it immediately. Remember if you leave it, someone else may drink it.

Here are some other tips on how to avoid drink spiking from occurring. Always get your own drink. Watch it being poured. Don’t leave it unattended. Don’t drink or taste anybody else’s drink. Don’t accept drinks from anyone else. Drugs used to spike drinks can be colourless and tasteless so you might not realise that anything has been added. Be aware of the behaviour of your friends. Is their behaviour out of character? Do they seem too out of it for what they’ve had?

Drink spiking does happen. We always come back to the same line -“ look after yourself and look after your friends. If your friend seems drunk, or is acting out of character but you know they haven’t had that much to drink, they may have been drugged.

If they tell you they think their drink may have been spiked, it is important that you believe them. Stay with them. Don’t leave them to sleep it off or get home on their own.

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