If you’ve ever had your drink spiked, then you know how bad it can be. Almost one in ten people have reported being a victim of at some point in their lives. It’s an epidemic. It’s growing. And it’s fatal.
A student in Stockport is the latest to learn the dangers as she was admitted into hospital last night when she became unresponsive after leaving her drink alone at the bar in one of the city’s local pubs. She woke up nauseous and disorientated with a drip fed into her. She was lucky, some are less so. Such as 18 year-old Jack McEwen, who was left in a coma after being spiked with ketamine one night.
A spiked drink is dangerous, illegal and deadly. So why is it still happening?
Drinks are usually spiked with liquid ecstasy, Valium or Ketamine, all of which are relatively unnoticeable once dissolved in liquid. They’re also extremely harmful and potentially deadly when mixed with alcohol.
Shockingly, students make easy targets as 1 in 3 people happily leave their drinks unattended. An undercover operation, performed by Essex Police, found 1 in 25 drinks had been spiked throughout just one night in a single club.
It’s an epidemic that’s becoming uncontrollable, despite the illegality of it. A person found guilty of spiking a drink will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison; even more if further crimes, such as theft or sexual harassment, are carried out.
The answer to stopping it?
Never leave your drink unattended.
Nadja Brenneisen talks though her experiences of drink spiking in her article for VICE. She reports how she left her drink for a few seconds while she went to the bathroom and moments later collapsed in a toilet cubical.
It’s not an uncommon story. Trawling through the pages and pages of results that come up on Google alone will tell you that.
And it’s not just here in the UK that you’re a target. This is just as much a global problem too. Northumbria student, Jane Khalaf collapsed and died after being spiked with ecstasy one night in Cologne. For those of year abroad, placement or just travelling it’s extremely important to stay vigilant when in an unknown area.
Police aren’t even doing much to help
Aside from the deadly concoction of drugs being ingested and the possibility of sexual harassment or theft, one of the most terrifying aspects of the situation, is that police aren’t taking victims seriously.
Katie Burrington set up the website Check Your Drink when her husband, a barrister, noticed many police, bouncers and taxi drivers all glided past cases of theft and sexual assault after student’s drinks had been spiked. They blamed the victims for being ‘too drunk’, even after they’d been hospitalized.
Drinking and clubbing is one of the most exciting aspects of fresher’s week, and indeed the majority of your time at university. Once you’re even slightly intoxicated, however, the likelihood of something happening to you increases drastically. It’s important to remember to stay in control at all times. It could mean the difference between the best night of your life, and one you spend fighting death.
The threat of a spiked drink shouldn’t stop you from enjoying yourself. However, there are precautions that you should always take in order to stay as safe as you can.
- Stick together as a group.
- Keep your drink with you at all times
- If you notice anything unusual happening to yourself or others, tell someone immediately and get to somewhere safe
- Avoid punch bowls
- Don’t take expensive items out with you, as they’ll make you a number one target for theft
- Don’t accept drinks from someone that you don’t know. If you do, make sure you see it poured at the bar
- Equally, don’t leave your drink with someone you don’t know – even if you’re just going to the toilet
- If you’re going on a first date, let someone know where you are and keep your phone on you at all times. If you start to feel unwell, get to a bathroom and call a friend
By Holly Smith