What to do if youve been spiked – the 3 vital steps

Nightclub owner says he's seen spiking injections for decades

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Until now, spiking was thought to be limited to people dropping party drugs in alcohol drinks. However, the police are seeing a huge increase in needle spiking incidents where an unsuspecting person is injected with drugs using a needle. Here’s what to do if you suspect you or someone you’re with has been spiked, according to the team at St John Ambulance.

More than 200 drink spiking incidents have been reported to the police across the UK in the last two months alone, and this sickening new trend has led to many people being too scared to enter bars and clubs.

The act of spiking is illegal and those found guilty of the crime can be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Spiking is never the fault of the victim, but people are being advised to be vigilant and take extra care when out at these establishments more than ever.

Not sure what a spiked drink looks like or what symptoms to look out for? St John Ambulance has the answers.

If someone has spiked your drink with drugs, you probably won’t be able to see it.

The NHS site points out that the drugs are usually tasteless, odourless and have no colour so it’s impossible to see if a drink has been spiked.

However, there will be some very obvious symptoms to look out for including amnesia, paranoia, hallucinations and difficulty walking.

Dr Lynn Thomas, Medical Director at St John Ambulance advises revellers to watch out for the following signs of spiking:

  • Loss of balance
  • Fatigue
  • Lowering of inhibitions
  • Visual problems
  • Confusion (especially the next day or after waking up)
  • Vomiting and unconsciousness as signs that someone may have been spiked

High doses of some drugs that are typically used to spike drinks, such as Ecstasy, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and Ketamine, can be deadly.

Particularly when mixed with alcohol, these drugs can cause serious medical problems from muscular issues to comas and death.

That’s why it’s so important to be vigilant and know the signs of a spiked drink, as this will enable you to get help for you or the victim as soon as possible.

How to avoid being spiked

You should do the following to try and prevent your drink from being spiked:

  • Stay with your friends
  • Look out for one another
  • Don’t accept a drink you didn’t see get poured or opened at the bar
  • Never leave a drink unattended
  • Cover your drink with your hand

What to do when you think you or someone else has been spiked

If you think you or someone else has been spiked via drink or injection, it’s very important to get help.

According to St John Ambulance, you must do the following three things:

  • Stay with your friends
  • Alert the venue’s bar staff, security team or management, and the police, including reporting any suspicious activity or behaviour
  • Call 999 for an ambulance if you believe you have been spiked – especially if there is loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, or abnormal or impaired sight. Or call 111 for any other health concerns.

St John Ambulance first aid provision to make nights out safer aims to reduce demand on frontline NHS services by providing healthcare and treating patients on the spot.

The health and first aid charity is building on the success of treatment centres in locations including Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Norwich to introduce many more sites in the build-up to the festive season.

They expect to be active in more than 40 locations by the end of 2021.

Jade Quittenton, a Community Operations Manager at St John Ambulance, said: “Our night-time economy programme offers safe treatment spaces where St John Ambulance teams provide medical help for revellers seeking help during a night out.

“Having highly-trained first aiders and healthcare professionals on hand, close to pubs and clubs, means treatment is available when people need it most.

“Our volunteers can care for anyone who’s worse for wear, sick or injured, and take people to the Emergency Department if they need that, but we also relieve support on health services by preventing unnecessary hospital admissions.

“More than that, we can signpost to other services, provide some much-needed TLC and – importantly – provide safe spaces for anyone vulnerable to wait for transportation home rather than leaving them waiting on dark streets.”

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