Drink spiking - the law
Drink spiking is illegal, whether or not an attack or assault has been carried out. It can result in a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison for anyone who is found guilty of doing it. If an assault, rape or robbery has also taken place, the sentence will be higher.
How do I know my drink has been spiked?
If your drink has been spiked it's unlikely you'll be able to see, smell or taste any difference. However, you may experience certain symptoms. You may:
- Feel drowsy, confused or find it difficult to speak or move
- Feel drunker than you should, depending on how much you have drunk
- Not be able to remember what you have done.
What should I do if I think my drink has been spiked?
Tell someone you trust, such as a friend or staff.
If you are alone, ask the pub landlord or bar manager to call a trusted friend for you.
Your friend, or someone you trust, should take you to the nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department and tell the medical staff your drink may have been spiked.
Report it to the police as soon as you can. They will need to take blood and urine samples. Most drugs leave the body within 72 hours of being taken, but some can be gone in 12 hours so it's important to be tested as soon as possible.
Help prevent drink spiking:
- Never leave your drink unattended
- Don't accept a drink from someone you don't know
- Keep an eye on your friends' drinks
- Stay away from situations that you don't feel comfortable with
- Report to bar or venue staff if you see someone acting suspiciously (e.g. tampering with people’s drinks)
- If someone appears unusually intoxicated do not leave them unattended or with a stranger, make sure they are safe
- Let someone know where you are and what time you expect to be home, especially if you're going on a date with someone you don't know
If you have been sexually assaulted, even if you are too upset to report it to the police immediately, you should try to seek medical assistance if you have been hurt or injured. Any forensic evidence obtained during tests can be stored.
For additional advice on staying safe on your night out please visit the 'Before your night out' page.