Drink spiking is the illegal act of placing a substance into a drink with the intention of causing harm to the drinker. In recent years, media reports have shown this activity to be on the rise. Whether this can be attributed to sensational reporting or fact, it's something that everyone should be cautious of.
The reasons behind drink spiking may include theft, rape, assault or just plain amusement. It is illegal, and if a person is found guilty, he or she will face a heavy penalty. The act is illegal even if no assault or harm comes to the person whose drink has been spiked.
The symptoms of spiking depend on the substance added to the drink, as well as how much alcohol the drinker has ingested. Other factors that may affect how a person response include the age of the victim and his or her body shape and size.
Signs that one's drink has been spiked often include disorientation and dizziness. Hallucinations may occur, along with vomiting and nausea. The victim may also suffer from lethargy and slurred speech. Loss of memory is also a sign, especially regarding events of the night in question. Drink spiking has been known on occasion to induce coma or even death.
Any drug can be used to spike a drink, but the most common is flunitrazepam, also known as rohypnol. This drug has been reported frequently in the press as the date rape drug. Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine are also frequently used to spike drinks because of their anesthetic qualities when mixed with alcohol. These drugs have no taste, color or odor, and symptoms usually appear within five to 30 minutes and have been known to last for around 12 hours. It is almost impossible to tell if they have been placed into a drink.
There are some precautionary guidelines that can help prevent drink spiking. People should never leave a drink unattended, always keeping it in the hand. No one should also accept a drink from someone that he or she does not know, and individuals should be vigilant when friends leave drinks unattended.
Anyone who experiences unusual symptoms after consuming only a small quantity of alcohol should seek help immediately. He or she should make sure to stay with friends and go to a safe place right away. Drugs can leave the body within 12 to 72 hours, so it is important for the person to be tested as soon as possible.