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BlogAn Urgent Call to Awareness: The Increasing Threat of Drink Spiking Among Young People in the UK

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An Urgent Call to Awareness: The Increasing Threat of Drink Spiking Among Young People in the UK

The troubling and escalating issue of drink spiking that threatens the safety of young people, especially teenagers and young adults, has recently gripped the UK.

This method, generally associated with the addition of drugs or alcohol to an unsuspecting person’s drink, has found a new and disturbing modality – the use of vapes. Read more to find out the symptoms of drink spiking and how to increase awareness around the subject. 

Have you been spiked before and need to seek help? Speak to Donna Morgan today. 

The Silent Menace: Drink Spiking and Vaping

Traditionally, drink spiking has been associated with the covert introduction of a substance into a person’s drink. Predominantly, the substances used are illegal drugs or high-proof alcohols, intended to incapacitate the victim, impair their judgement or manipulate their actions.

There has been a spike in reported cases of spiking via vapes – an entirely novel and chillingly unnoticeable method. This development broadens the contexts in which spiking can occur, making it a threat beyond the classic bar or club scenario.

The Personal Toll: Impact on the Victim & Symptoms of Drink Spiking 

If you’ve been spiked, the aftermath is deeply unsettling. You may experience a range of physical symptoms, from dizziness and nausea to unconsciousness. The psychological impact can be even more profound, including feelings of violation, lingering anxiety and a deep-seated fear of recurrence. It can significantly erode one’s sense of safety and trust in social situations.

If you or someone you know suspects they have been spiked, immediate action is paramount.

Seek Help: If you begin to feel unusually dizzy, confused or disoriented, tell a trusted friend or staff member immediately.

Stay Safe: Do not leave the venue alone or with a stranger. If possible, find a family member or a close friend to pick you up. Stay with friends.

Get Medical Assistance: Visit a nearby hospital or clinic as soon as possible. Many of the drugs used in spiking can be detected only within a short window.

Report to Authorities: Inform the local police about the incident. This could prevent further incidents and might help catch the perpetrator.

Educate and Protect:

Educate: Discuss the dangers of drink spiking with your children. Inform them about the new risks associated with vaping.

Stay Vigilant: Advise them to keep an eye on their drinks at all times and to avoid accepting drinks or vapes from strangers.

Encourage Group Safety: Encourage them to go out in groups and watch out for each other. There is safety in numbers.

Promote Open Communication: Maintain an open line of communication with your child. Let them know they can talk to you about anything that makes them uncomfortable.

The insidious practice of drink spiking is a stark reminder that our work as guardians and caregivers is never done. But armed with knowledge, vigilance and open communication, we can help protect our children from these hidden threats.

Laws Relevant to Drink Spiking

In the United Kingdom, there are several laws that are relevant to drink spiking and related offences, but this certainly needs reviewing and updating.

Offences Against the Person Act 1861: This law is often used in cases of drink spiking. Specifically, section 24 of the act makes it illegal to administer a drug or other noxious substance with intent to injure, aggrieve, or annoy any other person. If convicted under this section, a person could face a prison sentence.

Sexual Offences Act 2003: In cases where drink spiking is used as a precursor to a sexual assault, this act is particularly relevant. It clearly states that a person must give their consent to engage in sexual activity and that they must have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. The use of drugs or alcohol to render a person incapable of giving consent is considered a serious crime and can lead to a charge of rape or assault, which carry heavy penalties, including long prison sentences.

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971: If the substance used to spike a drink is a controlled drug, then the person responsible could be prosecuted under this act, which makes it illegal to possess, supply, or produce controlled drugs. The penalties vary depending on the drug class but can include significant fines and prison sentences.

The Licensing Act 2003: This law governs the sale of alcohol and the operation of licensed premises. It includes provisions designed to promote public safety and prevent crime and disorder. In the context of drink spiking, premises could potentially be held liable under this law if they fail to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their customers.

Victims of drink spiking are encouraged to report incidents to the police, even if they do not wish to press charges, as this can help to highlight problem areas or repeat offenders. It is important to note that the police and the courts take drink spiking very seriously and it can lead to severe penalties for those found guilty.

Indeed, attending festivals and travelling abroad for the first time are significant milestones in a young person’s life. While these experiences can be thrilling, they also come with potential risks, including the risk of drink spiking. Below is some advice for ensuring safety:

Advice for Ensuring Safety in Places More Likely to Incur Drink Spiking 

Festivals:

Keep Drinks Close: Never leave your drink unattended and if you do, don’t drink from it again.

Check before Sip: Always watch who is preparing your drink and if you have any doubts, don’t drink it.

Drink from Sealed Containers: Opt for drinks in sealed containers and open them yourself whenever possible.

Trust Your Instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. If you feel suddenly dizzy or disoriented, seek help immediately.

Look out for Your Friends: Keep an eye on your friends and make sure they’re safe. If they seem overly intoxicated or unwell, get them to a safe place and seek medical help.

Travelling Abroad:

Familiarise Yourself with Local Laws: In some countries, drug laws are significantly stricter than in the UK. Being aware can keep you out of trouble.

Stay Aware

Remember, the best defence against drink spiking is awareness and precaution. Look after yourself and your friends and don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. Being cautious doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – it means ensuring that the fun you have is safe and respectful of your well-being and those around you.
Have you been spiked before and need to seek help? Speak to Donna Morgan today.

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