Spiking is when someone gives you alcohol or drugs without your consent (your agreement).

Spiking often takes away a person’s control. It may be done to make it easier for the perpetrator to rob, harm, physically attack or sexually assault someone.

If you’ve been spiked we know this can be a really difficult, confusing and scary time. Please know you’re not to blame and this was not your fault.

While drink spiking is the most common form of spiking, it can also happen in other ways. For example, if someone injects drugs into your body (called needle spiking), puts drugs in your food or into your cigarette or vape.

Perpetrators may use many different substances to spike victims.

  • So-called ‘date-rape’ drugs such as Rohypnol (sometimes called ‘roofies’), GHB and GBL. They can make victims weak, confused or make them pass out, and can cause memory loss. These drugs often have no colour, taste or smell so it’s difficult to know if your drink or food has been spiked with them.
  • Recreational drugs, or ‘party’ drugs, such as ecstasy/MDMA, cocaine, ketamine and LSD.
  • Prescription drugs, such as diazepam, which can slow down the body’s responses.
  • Alcohol eg giving someone a double or triple measure when they’ve only asked for a single, or adding alcohol to a person’s non-alcoholic drink.
  • Liquid drugs such as spice (a lab-made drug similar to cannabis), THC (a form of cannabis), vaporised LSD and liquid painkillers may be used in vapes.

Anyone can be spiked, and it can happen anywhere.

Perpetrators may be strangers, people you know, or someone you’re on a date with.

It can take place in a public space like a bar, club or restaurant, at a party or a festival, or in private spaces like at someone’s home or in your own home.

There is never an acceptable reason to spike someone, and it is never the victim’s fault.

As perpetrators use different substances to spike people, everyone will react differently and can experience a range of symptoms.

If you’ve been spiked, you may start to experience symptoms within 5-20 minutes. The effects can last up to 12 hours. Here are some ways spiking could affect you:

  • Feeling faint, light-headed or dizzy
  • Teeth chattering
  • Feeling drowsy, confused or hallucinating (seeing things that aren’t there or not really happening)
  • Feeling drunk, or like you’ve had more drugs or alcohol than you know you’ve had
  • Feeling very hot
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Nausea or vomiting (feeling sick or being sick)
  • Loss of control of your bladder (wetting yourself)
  • Finding it difficult to walk or being unable to move your body
  • Loss of balance, fainting, passing out or unconsciousness
  • Being unable to speak
  • Changes to vision or not being able to see
  • Memory loss
  • Feeling very unwell the next day, including being sick.

While the physical effects of spiking will wear off as the drugs or alcohol leave your body, the emotional effects can last a long time.

You may feel wary or scared of going out, and may feel a lack of trust around others. You may feel anxious about going out or socialising, or have increased anxiety in general.

Everyone will react differently. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel and however you’re feeling is OK.

If you have, or believe you may have, experienced rape or sexual assault as a result of spiking, you are not to blame and this was not your fault.

You’ve been through a distressing and traumatic experience, and if you feel confused or unsure about what’s happened, it’s OK.

It’s important to think about getting medical help as soon as possible, to check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), injury or pregnancy. You can do this at your local sexual assault referral centre, also known as a SARC.

If you feel able to, try to confide in someone you trust about what’s happened. Or you can speak to us at Victim Support or another support service such as Rape Crisis.

If you’ve been a victim of crime, you’ll need to decide whether or not to tell the police. If you’re unsure, we have more information about reporting a crime and what happens afterwards.

Remember, we can support you whether you decide to involve the police or not.

We can also advise on the support you could receive and, if you’ve experienced sexual violence, how one of our Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) may be able to help.

If you choose to report your experience, you can do this in several ways:

  • If it’s an emergency, call 999 and ask for the police.
  • If it’s not an emergency, you can report spiking to the police by calling 101. You can also go to your local police station to report the crime there.
  • If you want to report the crime anonymously you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online.

You can report what’s happened to the police straight away, later, or not at all. But if you report soon after it’s happened, the police may be able to get evidence which might not be available if you report it later.

You can find out more about how the police may collect evidence (eg a drugs test) and what happens in a spiking investigation on the Met Police website.

Seek medical help if you’ve been hurt or injured

If you’ve been hurt or you’re feeling unwell, seek medical help. You can contact your GP or NHS 111. If it’s an emergency go your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. If you think you’ve been spiked with a needle and are concerned about your health or the risk of infection, you can speak to your GP, call NHS 111 or go to your nearest A&E department.

If you’ve been a victim of sexual violence

If you know or think you may have experienced rape or sexual assault because of spiking, it’s important to think about getting medical help as soon as possible. You can seek help from your GP or from your local sexual assault referral centre, also known as a SARC.

Seek support

If you feel able to, try to confide in someone you trust about what’s happened. If you don’t have anyone you can talk to, you can seek independent, non-judgemental help from a support service such as Victim Support, or Rape Crisis if you’ve experienced sexual violence.

Report to others

If you were spiked in a public place, for example a club or students’ union, you may want to inform the venue where it happened. If you met the perpetrator via a dating app, you may want to report their profile or account to the company.

When you report a crime to the police, they should automatically ask if you’d like help from an organisation like Victim Support. But anyone affected by crime can contact us directly – you don’t need to talk to the police to get our help.

You can get in touch by:

You can also create a free account on My Support Space – an online resource with interactive guides (including a guide on spiking) to help you manage the impact crime has had on you.

If English is not your first language and you’d like support, call our Supportline and let us know which language you speak. We’ll call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via Relay UK and SignLive (BSL).

Families and friends affected by crime can also contact us for support and information. If you’re a child or young person under 18 and are looking for support, visit our children and young people website for information.

Further support and information: