There’s been a lot of news reports lately on people in pubs and nightclubs being spiked by a needle, a pin or a scratch that causes a loss of awareness and blackouts.  

It’s believed that men intent on sexually assaulting women are targeting them with these injections as a way to render them submissive. 

Personally, I find these headlines a little sensational and perhaps not entirely true. This isn’t to dispute the amount of spiking in the UK, but I think the old school way of date rape is still the most popular one.  

From my own experience, it is very difficult to get a needle into the skin, let alone find a vein and inject a solution without popping the vein or slipping the needle through the bottom and missing it entirely (Intravenous Injecting).   

Intramuscular (IM) injection is a possibility, but that would take a lot longer to administer, and the onset is much slower, so it wouldn’t be as instant as IV injecting. However, people who’ve been spiked are waking up with pockmarks and scratches, so there may be something more sinister at play.  

It is difficult to determine where the information ends, and scaremongering starts. Is this really the case, or is this just social media hysteria? 

Most people think of spiking in a club by slipping something in a person’s drink. Over the years, there have been many reports of women being spiked on a night out with Rohypnol, or more commonly as ‘Roofies’.  

Rohypnol is a brand name for the drug flunitrazepam, which is part of the benzodiazepine or the “Z” drug family.  Reports of Roofies being used as a “date rape” drug go back to the days of the ’90s. Due to the number of reports that Roofies were being used to rape girls in clubs, the manufacturers changed the manufacturing process to include a blue core that would turn a light-coloured drink blue.  

I must state that it is only licensed flunitrazepam that contains the blue core, illicit manufacturing of flunitrazepam does not contain this blue core. 

Let’s remember; it's not just women who “date” rapists are targeting. In 2020 Britain’s “most prolific” rapist was Reynhard Sinaga, jailed for 136 rapes on young men in Manchester. Reynhard was thought to be using GHB to take advantage of the men he seemingly offered help.

Staying safe – How can you minimise the risk?

You really shouldn’t have to, but as long as there are clubs and pubs, scummy people are looking to take advantage of you.  

  1. Always buy your own drink and watch it being poured 

  1. Don't accept drinks from strangers 

  1. Never leave your drink unattended while you dance or go to the toilet. 

  1. Don't drink or taste anyone else's drink. 

  1. Dispose of your drink if you think it tastes odd. 

Have you Been Spiked?

Symptoms include:

- Dizziness 

- Difficulty in walking  

- Confusion, especially the next day or after waking up  

- Nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting (being sick)  

- Hallucinations (seeing things that are not there) 

- Tiredness  

- Visual problems, for example, blurred vision  

- Paranoia (a feeling of fear or distrust of others)  

- Amnesia (loss of memory), especially about things that have happened recently 

Remember – stay safe, be aware of your surroundings. If you're out with friends, stay as a group, or inform someone if you're going off with another person. Never leave the club without your friends unless they know where you are going.  

It's about using your common sense, and yes, the use of alcohol does lower our inhibitions. But that doesn’t mean we have to put ourselves at any more risks than the jerks who are spiking your drink!