Drink spiking is the act of placing a drug into a drink without someone’s knowledge. It can be done with many different drugs with the evidence pointing to alcohol as the most popular. Many prescription drugs can be used as well as illicit drugs.

There can be many reasons for spiking a drink including as a prank,

  • to aid in sexual assault,
  • theft/ robbery or even
  • kidnapping.

This crime affects all sexes and ages, with 11% of victims being male. It is one of the most under reported crimes and therefore there is a lack of crucial data to be able to assess the true number of spiking incidents and drug facilitated crimes.

It can happen in any place where drinking occurs, in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, raves, clubs, bars, pubs, restaurants, even private house parties.

There are some basic rules that can be followed to help protect you from this cowardly act:

  • Never leave your drink unattended
  • Watch you drink being poured
  • Don’t accept drinks from people you do not know or trust
  • Although a bottle may be harder to slip something into than a glass it is still not 100% safe watch your friends and their behaviour
  • Try not to go out alone If your drink doesn’t taste right, discard it


  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines : prescription drugs like xanax, valium, rohypnol.
  • Ketamine : a pharmaceutical liquid that is used in veterinary operations
  • GHB : a home made liquid made from cleaning chemicals and used recreationally (Fantasy).

Not all these drugs are suited to this crime if should the perpetrator wants to incapacitate another.

Many of the benzodiazepines do not dissolve and will leave a residue on the bottom or floating on the top of the drink.

Hoffman La Roche, the manufacturers of Rohypnol, changed the formula to make this pill difficult to use by adding a green dye to it and making sure it is not soluble when added to alcohol. It is also one the most restricted drugs on the register making it very difficult to obtain.

Ketamine and GHB can be the drug of choice as they share many of the qualities necessary to make them appropriate for spiking:

  • they are both used recreationally so are therefore easily obtained
  • they both come in liquid or powder form they both put you in a semi comatose state
  • they are both synergistic with alcohol meaning the effects are magnified when used with alcohol
  • they both induce memory loss
  • they both leave the system within hours making them almost impossible to detect


If you believe you have been spiked,

  • find someone you trust and get to a safe place.
  • get a urine or blood sample as soon as possible and have it tested.
  • keep the suspect beverage is also a good idea if possible.
  • report the incident to the police who will need these items for evidence should you want to take action.
  • contact the local sexual assault centre for advice.

Adapted from an article by Dean Sunshine

Step-By-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault

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