Injection spiking: What is it and what are the symptoms?

Gather your friends and make a toast to the new year. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTOS

The symptoms of drink spiking can include loss of balance, confusion and visual problems - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There has been an increase in injection spiking across the UK, with many people wondering what is injection spiking and what are the signs of being spiked.

Police forces are signposting people to the Talk to Frank website, which has published a page with guidance and advice for the public on spiking. 

To spike a drink means to put alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink without their knowledge or permission.

The aim may be to incapacitate someone enough to rob or sexually assault them – although sometimes it is done as a dangerous joke.

There is also the threat of people being spiked by needles and syringes containing drugs.

The Talk to Frank website says: “Although this is much less likely than drink spiking, many of the same tips for staying safe can protect you here too.

“Spiking is a criminal offence and venues should take steps to ensure they are safe places to be, but you still need to protect yourself, particularly if you feel unsafe.”

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What to do if you think you have been spiked (by drink or needle)? 

  • If you start to feel strange, sick or drunk when you know that you couldn't be, seek help from a friend or the venue management. 
  • If you think you have been spiked, get a friend to get you out of the place as soon as possible and take you home or to hospital (if seriously unwell). Or call and ask a friend, relative or partner to come and pick you up. 
  • Make sure you can trust the person you ask for help. Don't go anywhere with a stranger. 
  • Once safely home ask someone to stay with you until the effects of the drug have worn off; it could be several hours. 
  • Don't hesitate to call for medical help if you need it and tell the police what happened. 

Symptoms of drink spiking

Reactions to drink spiking may vary depending on what you've been spiked with, your size and weight and how much alcohol has been consumed. Symptoms could include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Feeling tired or sleepy
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Visual problems
  • Vomiting 
  • Unconsciousness

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