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Spiking drinks

drugs; drinks; spiked; spiking; sexual; assault; date; rape; alcohol;

Contents

It might seem like 'just fun', but many young people have gotten into serious trouble when someone has put something into their drink without their knowledge. Sometimes alcohol is added to drinks that appear to be free of alcohol. Sometimes other drugs are added.

Alcohol is the most used drug when drinks are spiked.

The person whose drink is 'spiked' could become very sick, or try to do something that is dangerous (like driving while affected by the alcohol or drug).

They could even be sexually assaulted. This is sometimes called 'date rape'.

How do you know if a drink has been spiked?

Sometimes the alcohol or drug can make the drink taste or smell different, but not always.

  • Many alcoholic drinks have a flavour or taste that you can recognise, but some of the stronger spirits, such as vodka, have no smell or flavour.
  • Some drugs used make the drink taste salty, or they leave a residue at the bottom of the glass.

Sometimes you won't know until you, or your friend starts to feel the effects of the alcohol or drug.

  • The common drugs used to spike drinks cause drowsiness, which often comes on more quickly than the effects of alcohol.
  • The person may feel and look 'drunk', even if she or he believes she or he has had no alcohol, or only a little alcohol.

Safety rules

It is important to stress that the person who spikes drinks is the one responsible, but there are some things that can be done by young people to help keep yourselves safe.

  • Do not accept drinks from someone you do not know and trust.
  • Keep an eye on people you know too, because most times a drink is spiked by a person who you know.
  • Only drink from a can or bottle that you open yourself, or that you watch being opened.
  • Do not leave your drink unattended, even for a trip to the toilet. Finish it before you go, or don't drink any more when you come back. Throw it away to prevent someone else drinking it.
  • If someone is getting you a drink, go with them and watch it being poured.
  • Do not drink from a communal drink, like a punch bowl, or a container that is being passed around.
  • If you think your drink tastes funny or looks unusual, throw it away. If you leave it lying around, someone else may drink it.
    • Don't fall for lines like, "Oh that salty taste is just because it's an energy drink".
    • At one time, one of the drugs often used for spiking drinks changed the colour of a drink to blue, but the manufacturer stopped making it, because some people believed that if the drink was not blue it was safe. However other drugs could have been put in it.
  • Try to limit how much alcohol you drink. Be wary of people who you don't know well who are keen to give you lots of drinks.
  • Have a designated sober person. This person can tell if others are acting strangely and might be able to help them. He or she could double as the driver.

If someone's drink might have been spiked

If someone feels drunk but has had very little to drink - or has not knowingly had any alcohol – his or her drink may have been spiked.

  • Tell someone you trust straight away that you think this might have happened.
  • Check whether other people might also be affected.
  • Call an ambulance or take your friend to a doctor or hospital if he or she is unwell. The sooner a doctor can see your friend, the better the chance of finding out what has been given, and treating the effects.
  • Make sure someone stays with your friend. The effects of the drug or alcohol may get worse with time.

Try to stop your friend from doing anything that might be dangerous, like driving, swimming or climbing. If you are not able to stop your friend, call for help. Call an adult, or the police if you need to. Your friend’s life is very important!!

The Australian Red Cross has a website 'Save a mate - ClubSAM - have fun, party safe and look after your mates this summer'. 
http://www.saveamate.org.au/

Sexual assault

Sometimes people spike drinks so that they can sexually assault someone. If you are affected by drugs, you may not be able to resist the actions of that person - the drug might cause you to be drowsy or asleep. If you are unable to protect yourself or unable to say no to sex, it is still rape!

If you have been sexually assaulted, or if you think you might have been but the drug has affected your memory of what happened, there are specially trained people who can help you, and give you the support and treatment that you might need.

In South Australia, you could contact:

  • Yarrow Place - the Rape and Sexual Assault Service
  • the Police Sexual Assault Section
  • your doctor
  • a hospital.

Phone numbers and contact information about these services are below.

Have a look at the topic 'Rape'.

Mel says:

"Hanging out with friends and going to parties in each other’s houses is all part of growing up. Friends should be able to trust each other and look out for each other, but unfortunately that is not always true. Sometimes parties are gate-crashed and you don’t know who is there. It’s up to you to keep yourself safe".

Resources

South Australia

  • The Youth Health Service:
      Central: 57 Hyde St, Adelaide
      South: 50a Beach Rd, Christies Beach
      North: 6 Gillingham Rd, Elizabeth
      West: 51 Bower St, Woodville
  • ADIS - Alcohol and Drug Information Service: 1300 131 340

Sexual assault

  • Yarrow Place – Rape and Sexual Assault Service
    For people 16 years old and over.
    Toll-free: 1800-817-421, After hours: (08) 8226-8787
    http://www.yarrowplace.sa.gov.au/ 
  • If you are under 16
    • Child Protection Unit at the Women and Children's Hospital. Telephone: 8161-7346
    • Flinders Medical Centre. Telephone: 8204-5485
  • SA Police
    • 000 if the person is in danger
    • 13 1444 for police assistance
    • Sexual Crime Investigation Branch 13 1444 or 8207 5800.

Australia

  • Kids helpline: 1800 55 1800

References

Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA). http://www.dassa.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Youth Healthline on 1300 13 17 19 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
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