Drink spiking

Drink spiking

With the case of Dianne Brimble still attracting widespread media attention, it is important to examine what we do and don’t know about drink spiking, particularly in relation to GHB. People who believe that they have been the victim of drink spiking often say the same thing: “The night was a blank.” The drugs used appear to be amnesic in effect and therein lies one of the greatest problems when it comes to collecting information about this crime. People are often confused about exactly what happened and rarely report it until it is too late to collect vital information, i.e. tests to tell what drugs have been used.

Research shows that alcohol is most likely to be used in drink-spiking crimes, although that is rarely reported in the media. Although drugs such as Rohypnol, ketamine and GHB are usually discussed, 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. There have been cases recently where perpetrators of this crime have been caught and the drugs used had previously never been considered by authorities. Although we have amazing equipment, unless we know what we’re looking for, we’re never going to find it.

GHB is a particularly dangerous drug to spike someone’s drink with because, if the potential victim has been drinking, the mix could be lethal, just as it appears to have been in the Brimble case. Also, anyone who has ever taken G knows that it is hardly tasteless and odorless. At the very least it is salty; at worst, extremely chemical tasting. This is hardly a drug you would not notice, unless you were pretty intoxicated.

Also, drink spiking is usually discussed as being a crime that is carried out by strangers. Most of the campaigns dealing with the issue warn about people lurking in bars and nightclubs waiting to slip something into your drink without you knowing. Interestingly, most of what we know about drink spiking does not match that scenario. In fact, most cases that have made it to court involve people who are known to the victim. They have usually taken place in the home or some other place away from crowds. This makes much more sense than drugging someone in a crowded bar, as how would you be able to get them away from the venue without anyone noticing?

The myth that it is only strangers who carry out this crime is potentially dangerous as it leads some young people to take unnecessary risks. People you know, or have recently met, are just as likely to spike your drink as complete strangers, particularly if they are able to get you into a situation when you are on your own. Evidence would also suggest that although GHB could be used, it is unlikely, with a range of pharmaceutical drugs or alcohol being the more likely culprits.

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 blasé.

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