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What is spiking?

Spiking is when someone puts alcohol or drugs into another person’s drink or body without their consent or knowledge. This is illegal even if no other offence is committed. People can also be the victims of ‘needle spiking’, which is injecting someone with drugs without their consent. Spiking can happen to anyone anywhere – no matter their gender, sexuality or ethnicity – and can be carried out by strangers or by people you know.

How do I keep safe from spiking?

Never lose sight of your drink

It can take only minutes for someone to feel the effects of a spiked drink. Memory loss can be a side effect of many of the drugs used to spike drinks. Many victims are unaware of what has happened to them, and have very little memory of the incident, if any at all.

The best way to protect yourself and your friends from being spiked is to be aware of what you consume and never take a drink that you haven’t seen being prepared in front of you. Never leave your drink unattended, even for a moment, and if it doesn’t taste right, don’t finish it.

If you or your friends start to feel strange or unwell then you should get help and seek medical advice straight away.

People can also be the victims of 'needle spiking', which is injecting someone with drugs without their consent.

Be vigilant if you're drinking with strangers

When you go out for an evening you never know who you’re going to meet, so always keep your wits about you. If someone appears to be over-friendly and eager to get you to drink, be vigilant.

If you get separated from your friends in a bar, pub or club, let them know where you are. If you happen to meet new company and they ask you to go on somewhere else, introduce them to your friends and tell them where you’re going.

Be a drink buddy

If you're out with a friend, or friends, keep an eye out for them. If they appear to be more drunk than you'd expect, dizzy or slurring their words, take control and make sure they’re okay. If you’re concerned, make sure they either get medical help or get home safely.

For further information about spiked drinks, visit Drink Aware

What should I do if I think I’ve been spiked?

If you or someone you know has been spiked, report it to police

Report it to the police. 

Is it an emergency?

Does it feel like the situation could get heated or violent very soon? Is someone in immediate danger? Do you need support right away? If so, please call 999 now.

If you need a non-emergency police response

If you are the victim of crime or have witnessed any non-emergency incident occurring within the Northumbria Police area use our online reporting form or call 101

We need to know about every possible spiking so we can investigate, even if no other crime has taken place. If you are out in a bar or club, you can report to a member of staff,
who will be able to help and support you. If you are injured or have symptoms you are worried about after being spiked, call 111. If you think you’ve been sexually assaulted, go to your nearest sexual assault referral centre (SARC) for specialist care and support. If you’ve been affected by crime and you need confidential support or information, you can also call Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.

I’m anxious about reporting to the police

We know it can be scary to report being spiked, but the police are here to help you. We will listen to you and take you seriously. It is not a crime to have illegal drugs in your system (unless you are driving), so please don’t let this stop you reporting spiking.

What happens when I’m tested?

We’ll take a non-invasive urine sample. Some drugs leave the body in a very short time (within 12 hours), so it’s important to test as soon as possible. Other drugs remain in the body longer, so testing will be considered up to seven days after the incident. The test we use is the most effective way of finding out whether you have been spiked.

If you are tested in a hospital or by your GP, you will need to also have a police test, as this is what can be used as evidence to support charges or convictions. If you tell the police how much you have drunk and whether you have voluntarily taken drugs, we will be able to provide a more accurate result.

What happens next?

The test results will come back in usually three weeks and we will keep you updated on progress.

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