Drink Spiking

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What is drink spiking?
Drink spiking is when a person deliberately adds alcohol or another drug to someone else’s drink without them knowing. It can include putting alcohol into a non-alcohol drink, adding extra alcohol to a drink, or adding prescription or illegal drugs into an alcoholic or non- alcoholic drink.

Do you know what is the most common drug used to spike drinks?
Alcohol. The use of other drugs is relatively rare [1] compared to alcohol.

Why do people spike drinks?
Some people spike the drinks of their friends as a prank or some other non-criminal motive. However, there are people who will spike drinks to commit sexual assault, or theft. Spiking someone’s drink is illegal – even if it is a prank.

What are the warning signs I need to look for?
You might not be able to tell if your drink has been spiked, so be aware of the following
warning signs:

  • Feeling dizzy or faint.
  • Feeling ill or sleepy.
  • Feeling drunk even if you have only had a little bit of alcohol to drink.
  • Passing out.
  • Waking up feeling uncomfortable and confused, with memory blanks about the night before.

What should I do if I start to feel some of the warning signs?

If you are with people you trust, tell them and ask them to get you to a safe place. If you do not know the people you are with very well or you do not trust them, speak to the venue staff or security and tell them.


If you feel unwell, seek medical attention.

Do not wander off by yourself in case you do pass out and become unconscious.

What precautions can you take to reduce the risk?

  • Always keep your drink close to you and do not leave it unattended.
  • Do not share drinks with other people. 
  • If you are offered a drink by someone you don’t know well, go to the bar with them and watch the bartender pour your drink.
  • If you think your drink tastes weird, pour it out.
  • Keep an eye on your friends and their drinks as well.
  • Be wary if someone buys you a different drink from what you asked for [2].

Drink spiking is serious. Many people who have had their drinks spiked do not report it because they feel they will not be believed or they will be blamed, particularly if they have already been drinking.

However, drink spiking is illegal, regardless of what you were doing at the time.

If you or someone you know has had their drink spiked it is important to speak out and to encourage other people to also speak out so the stigma is reduced, and people know they will be taken seriously if they report it. [3]

– Written by David Kernohan, Director of Youth Legal Services

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