Introduction to the Dangers of Spiking

Spiking, the act of adding drugs or alcohol to someone's body, drink, vape or food without their knowledge or consent, is a serious and potentially life-threatening issue that often goes unnoticed in social settings. Use this information page to learn more about the methods and motives of spiking and how to combat it.

What is spiking?

Spiking is when someone puts alcohol or drugs into another person’s drink, vape, cigarette, food or their body without their knowledge and/or consent. (Rape Crisis, 2023)

Spiking someone’s drink carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison in the UK. (Sexual Offences Act 2003)

92% incidents unreported to the police. (Alcohol Education Trust, 2023)

How do people spike?

The most common method used to spike someone is by drink tampering, 77% of victims that have reported an incident of spiking on our Spike Report have been spiked via drink tampering. 20% have been spiked via needle injection.

More recently, people have been victims of spiking from smoking and vaping, and some perpetrators will also use food tampering as a method to spike. It is important to understand that spiking by definition is inserting drugs into another person’s body without their knowledge, therefore lacing vapes with drugs without that person’s knowledge as well as inserting drugs into a roll up cigarette without consent is also spiking.

What substances do people use?

Recreational drugs used to spike people are: MDMA, LSD, Ketamine

‘Date rape’ drugs used to spike people are: Rohypnol, GHB, GBL

A lot of these substances do not have any significant smell or taste in a drink or some food and are therefore hard to identify. The most common substance used to spike someone is alcohol whereby alcohol is added to a non-alcoholic or alcoholic drink without consent.

Why do people spike?

As there is only a small amount of perpetrators caught spiking, the reasons as to why people spike arent conclusive however based on the evidence we have from Spike Report we can begin to draw some data.

  • Sexual violence (harrassment, assault and rape)
  • Robbery
  • Prank

What to do if you think you have been spiked?
At the time:
  • Tell the venue you as soon as possible and then report it to the police.
  • Stay with an identified trusted person
  • Do not drink copious amounts of water. If a person has drugs in their system, too much water can make their body react badly and become even more out of control.
After the event:
  • Go to A&E for blood and urine testing, drugs used to spike someone can leave the body as quick as 12 hours. It is imperative that a sample is taken as soon as possible.
  • Report the incident to the police and the venue/s you attended that night.
  • Reach out to local agencies and support services, see below for more information.
How do I know if I have been spiked?
Typical Symptoms
  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • confusion and disoriented
  • feeling sick or sleepy
  • upset
  • drunkenness (despite having little alcohol)
  • passing out
  • hallucination
  • paralysis and inability to speak, including locked jaw
  • blackout memory
  • uncontrollable temperature
  • blurred vision
  • Paranoia
If you need any support after you have gone through trauma then please visit our support links page for more information.

Have you been spiked?

Submit to our Spike Report to CTA here