Having a night out with your friends or having a few drinks alone at a bar takes away the cares of your every day routine. It’s supposed to be a fun moment, or just a good time alone to sit back, relax and have a sip, right?
Still, you should keep your guard up and be aware of the people around you as well as the drinks that you’re taking. Your cocktail, margarita, soda or coffee may have been laced with something else and you may not know it. If you suspect that your drink tastes different after a sip or if you feel “funny” afterwards, you may be a victim of drink spiking.
“Drink spiking” is a term that refers to adding substances to someone’s beverage without their consent or permission. Common substances used in drink spiking include certain drugs and alcohol. These substances are being administered into someone’s drink surreptitiously, e.g., when the targeted victim is talking to someone else, going to the restroom or going to dance.
In most cases, drink spiking is committed with the intention of sexual assault and/or robbery. Many perpetrators lace someone else’s drinks because of some personal anger towards their targeted victim, and so they commit such act as a form of revenge or sabotage.
Practically any drug can induce certain effects on a person who ingests it. Some of these effects include drowsiness, lethargy, mental confusion and eventually, loss of consciousness. “Date rape drug” is a popular term for any substance that incapacitates a person and renders them weak and vulnerable. Predators would add “date rape drugs” to drinks of their targeted female victims, with the intention of sexually assaulting them the moment after they pass out.
What’s even more frightening about drink spiking is that you may not be able to taste or smell something different or suspicious in your beverage. Even before you know it, you’ll suddenly feel light-headed, groggy and sleepy. You feel you’re already drunk even when you’ve taken only a swig or two. Eventually, you lose consciousness – or you get “blacked out.” Some cases of drink spiking are even life-threatening, which is even more dangerous.
To avoid becoming the next victim of drink spiking, here are some safeguards to consider:
- Go out only with your trusted friends.
- Do not try to go out alone.
- Be aware of what’s happening around you.
- Buy or carry your own drinks before going out.
- Do not accept drinks from strangers.
- Refuse if a stranger offers to buy you a drink.
- Do not drink something that you did not open or did not see being opened.
- Do not take your eyes off your drink.
- If you had to leave for a while (to go to the restroom, for instance), ask your trusted friend to watch over your drink. Or if you are drinking alone, consume its entirety before leaving.
- Do not leave your drink unattended.
- If you are drinking from a glass, keep your hand on its top.
- If you are drinking from a bottle, keep your thumb on its mouth.
- Choose drinks in unopened bottles or cans over drinks in glasses.
- If you return to your drink and you suspect there’s something different in its appearance, smell or taste, don’t consume it. You may discard the drink, or bring it to the attention of the host or manager of the establishment.
- If you see someone spiking your drink (or your friend’s drink), or if you suspect that an act of drink spiking may occur, tell it to the host or manager immediately.
- If you feel somewhat drowsy even after only a drink or two, ask your trusted friend or a staff member of the establishment to take you to a safe place immediately.