Drink Spiking at an all-time high figures reveal

Written by on 16th February 2024

Drink spiking is at an all-time high, with almost 5,000 police reports across the country between 2021 – 2022.

Many cases of drink spiking go unreported. Helena Conibear, CEO of the Alcohol Education Trust, gives an insight into why some of these cases continue to go unreported.

Ms Conibear stated: “By the time victims realise their drink has been spiked they feel there won’t be enough evidence to prove it.

“Often due to a blackout and memory loss victims cannot remember clearly what happened in detail, which also stops them from reporting the crime.”

According to the Alcohol Education Trust, drink spiking can include more than just slipping drugs such as; tranquillisers, amphetamines or GHB into an alcoholic drink. Other common ways include; putting alcohol into a non-alcoholic drink and adding extra alcohol to an alcoholic drink. Often spikers aim to immobilise someone to either sexually assault or rob them.

Kanishk Syal, a 22-year-old student, witnessed the effects of his friend being spiked on a night out in Lancaster.

Mr Syal stated: “My friend is a 21-year-old female, and after only having one drink, I noticed her acting extremely intoxicated.

“Soon I had come to the realisation that her drink had been spiked. Later the Lancaster hospital confirmed she had been spiked by GHB.”

Mr Syal went on to state “Seeing my friend in such an awful way made me feel helpless, I couldn’t do anything to help her apart from waiting for paramedics to show up.

“This event not only affected her but also myself and I still struggle with the devastating memories today. I wish we could come together as a community and put a stop to spiking once and for all”.

He also stated: “I no longer feel safe on nights out anymore, nor does my friend who experienced the spiking, she hasn’t felt safe enough to come out since the event happened due to a worry of it happening again”.

When a drink has been spiked it can be hard to identify, as substances used for spiking often have no distinctive tell signs, such as smell or colour. Needle spiking is also difficult to notice until the negative effects kick in as the puncture can be done in a matter of seconds and often will only feel like a small scratch.

According to the National Police Chiefs Council, there have been 4,924 reported cases of spiking from September 2021 to August 2022. 2,581 reported spiking by needle, 2,131 reported drink spiking and 212 reported other spiking by cigarettes or food across England and Wales.

64% of these reported cases happened on the weekend with 54% happening in pubs, clubs and other similar social settings. 74% of the victims identified as female and 26% identified as male or other.

The Alcohol Education Trust conducted a survey in 2021, consisting of 49% women and 51% men. Results concluded that 92% of participants who had been a victim of drink spiking at some point in their lives did not report it.

There were a number of different reasons given by the participants as to why they chose not to report the crime. 14% believed they wouldn’t be taken seriously by the authorities. 8% stated they felt there wouldn’t be enough proof. 11% didn’t realise what happened to them until it was too late.

According to the Alcohol Education Trust, 50% of victims who reported spiking said nothing happened as a result. 9% said it was investigated, 8% received some kind of emotional support, 8% said extra security was added to the venue where it took place and 8% were not believed by police or the venue.

The Alcohol Education Trust has given an insight into what needs to be done in the event of a spiking incident. Ms Coinbear stated: “ Know how to report an incident. Report to 101, victim support or crime stoppers, the quicker the better.

“If with a victim, stay with them”.

The Alcohol Education Trust is aiming to bridge the gap. They have designed 4 posters on how to end spiking and how to stay safe on a night out, as well as creating spiking awareness cards and drink testing strips.

If you or someone you know has experienced spiking contact victim support on 08081689111, police on 101 or crime stoppers on 0800555111.

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