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What is being spiked?

When someone unknowingly consumes alcohol or drugs without giving their consent it is called being spiked. Spiking typically happens when drugs or alcohol are added into people’s drinks without their knowledge.

Some examples of this behaviour can be

  • Adding a drug to someone’s drink without their knowledge
  • Adding more alcohol into someone’s drink than they agreed

Mixing alcohol and drugs can be very dangerous and sometimes fatal.

Common drugs that are used to spike people include Rohypnol (also known as Roofie) and Gamm Hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

Both drugs can sedate or incapacitate a person, making them extremely vulnerable.

Find out more about consent. 

How to recognise if you or someone else has been spiked

Remember, it is not your fault if you have been spiked.

Lots of drugs or alcohol used to spike people are odourless, tasteless and show no colour. This makes them difficult to detect. The effects usually begin within 5-30 minutes of being spiked and can last for up to 12 hours.

Signs that you have been spiked

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty walking or loss of balance (often described as not being able to feel your legs)
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty speaking or concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in vision (blurred vision, not being able to see out of the side of your eyes)
  • Lowered inhibitions (not being aware of your surroundings)
  • Paranoia (feeling scared or not wanting to trust others)

What to do if you have been spiked

If you think your drink has been spiked, get help from someone you trust.

If you are at a venue, report this to someone who works there. You can tell a bouncer, a member of security, or a member of staff and let them know you think you’ve been spiked.

Call 999 if you

  • Hallucinate (see or hear things that are not there)
  • Feel very sleepy or tired
  • Vomit

If you can, you should get yourself to a safe place. This might mean taking a taxi to your own home or a friends house. If you can, get someone you trust to come with you.

If you are on a date or hanging out with someone for the first time you may not trust them enough to take you to a safe place. If this is the case, keep in touch with people you do trust like your friends by calling or texting them to let them know your situation and how you plan to get to a safe place. This way they can look out for you and raise the alarm in case something doesn’t go to plan.  

Ask them to come and meet you so you are not left alone.

If you can try to avoid

  • Leaving the venue with someone you do not trust
  • Walking home on your own
  • Going somewhere unfamiliar or that you don’t know
  • Accepting a lift from someone you do not know

Police Scotland released a statement in October 2021 and asked people who think they have been spiked to phone 101. 

What to do if someone you know has been spiked

If you think someone you know has been spiked you should stay with them until they are safe. If you are at a venue let the staff know you think your friend has been spiked. 

Keep talking to your friend and make sure they are in a safe place. A safe place might be your home or their home. It’s important to stay with them in case their condition gets worse. 

If they become unconscious call 999. 

What does the law say?

The Sexual Offences Act (2009) states that it is illegal to add drugs or alcohol to someone’s drink without their knowledge or consent. 

Where can you get help and support?

Find out more information and get support from the organisations below.


Visit DrinkAware for more information on drinks spiking and the symptoms.

Police Scotland

If you are a victim of a crime you should contact Police Scotland to report it. In the event of an emergency call 999, if it is not an emergency call 101.

Rape Crisis Scotland

Rape Crisis Scotland can put you in touch with your local Rape Crisis centre for support, they offer free and confidential support.

Visit the That’s Not OK page for more information and support.

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