Everything You Need To Know About Drink Spiking

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Picture this: Tony and Cassie are out on a date. Tony is drinking beer and Cassie rum and cola. Tony is getting the drinks from the bar and, unknown to Cassie, instead of ordering single shots of rum he’s ordering doubles. Is this drink spiking?

This may come as a surprise to some but the answer is yes.

Drink spiking is when a person deliberately adds alcohol or another drug to a drink without the knowledge of the person who will be drinking it. This means the person can become intoxicated unexpectedly. Drink spiking is illegal in all Australian states and territories.

There is currently no way to determine the exact number of drink spiking incidents. The Australian Institute of Criminology suggests that during 2002-2003 there were between 15 and 19 suspected drink spiking incidents per 100,000 persons in Australia. Incidents of drink spiking are under-reported mainly due to:

  • feelings of shame and embarrassment
  • cultural beliefs
  • fear of stigma.

One of the main barriers to reporting drink spiking is that victims think they won’t be believed, especially if they’ve consumed alcohol or other drugs.

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in drink spiking, while less commonly, central nervous system depressant drugs like GHB and Rohypnol have been used. These drugs can change a person’s behaviour, causing anything from a loss of inhibition to a loss of consciousness.

Most drink spiking incidents are considered to be ‘prank spiking’, with the motivation being fun or amusement. This practice ignores the potentially serious physical and mental health risks related to drink spiking.

Sexual assault is also commonly linked with drink spiking. Estimates suggest that one-third of drink spiking incidents are associated with a sexual attack.

The Australian Drug Foundation DrugInfo website has compiled some important information on drink spiking, follow the links below for more:

How will I know if my drink has been spiked?
What to do if your drink is spiked
How to avoid drink spiking 

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