Hundreds of drink and injection spiking incidents have been reported to police forces across the UK over the past two months, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
There have been around 140 confirmed reports across September and October of drink spiking, and 24 reports of some form of injection.
Talk to Frank has issued a number of ways people can identify what spiking is and how to stay safe on a night out:
– What does spiking mean?
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 joke, albeit a “dangerous” one.
However, 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.”
– What does the law say?
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 states it is an offence to administer a substance, to a person with intent to overpower that person to enable sexual activity with them.
The offence is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment, meaning slipping alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink is against the law, even if the drink is not consumed or the person is not harmed.
The same would be true of needle spiking which would also be a physical assault.
– How can you stay safe?
Talk to Frank has revealed a number of ways people can stay safe from spiking in bars and nightclubs, starting by planning out the night ahead.
It advises people to ensure they are visiting a licensed venue with friends and remaining aware of what is around them.
People are also urged to be careful of who they leave a venue with and ensure their mobile phone has enough charge.
– How can you avoid spiking?
Advice includes a person buying their own drink and watching as it is poured, not accepting drinks from strangers and never leaving their glass unattended.
People should also avoiding drinking or tasting another person’s drink and throw the drink away if it tastes odd.
– What should you do if you are spiked?
Talk to Frank’s website says: “If you start to feel strange, sick or drunk when know that you couldn’t be drunk, seek help from a trusted friend or the venue management.
“If you think you have been spiked, get a close friend to get you out of the place as soon as possible and take you home or to hospital (if seriously unwell). Or ring a friend, relative or partner and ask them to come and pick you up.
“If you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened you can ask for help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase indicates to staff that you need help and a trained member of staff will then support and assist you.
“Once you are safely home ask someone to stay with you until the effects of the drug have worn off, which could be several hours.”
People are advised to ensure they can trust the person they are asking for help, and never hesitate calling for medical help if needed.