Drink spiking is a serious crime and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence in the UK.
Some may not realise that spiking does not only apply to adding prescription or illegal drugs to a drink, it also covers adding an extra shot of alcohol in order to make a person more vulnerable. Police in York are asking people to be vigilant to this offence and to be aware of the signs, so they can seek help and report it sooner.
Speaking about recent reports, Detective Inspector Paul Groves from York Criminal Investigation Department said:
“We are currently investigating six reports of suspected drink spiking in York, which have all taken place over the past six weeks. With another weekend fast approaching and many thinking of heading out into the city for a night out, we want people to be aware of the signs of spiking and also to report it to us as soon as possible.
“We’re working closely with licensed premises in the city, so everyone can enjoy a safe night out. But we also want to ensure people are aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves from spiking and importantly, how to recognise the symptoms. The quicker you can determine that someone has been spiked, the sooner you can get help and also report it to police.
“Always keep an eye on your drink, whether alcoholic or not, and never leave it unattended. It’s advisable to not accept a drink from a stranger and stick together with your friends, so you can keep an eye out for each other.
“The symptoms of spiking can vary depending upon the substance that has been used, but can include feeling sleepy, loss of balance, visual problems, sickness, confusion and in some cases unconsciousness. If you are out with friends and someone’s behaviour or mood changes, they display some of the symptoms, or their inhibitions are lowered and they are acting in an unusual manner, they could’ve been spiked.
“If you think someone has been spiked, get help as soon as you can from bar or security staff. If their condition deteriorates, call an ambulance and keep an eye on them until help arrives. It’s also important to report it to police as soon as possible. Substances that are used to spike drinks are sometimes very quick to exit a person’s system, so the sooner it’s reported to us, the sooner we can capture evidence and determine exactly what’s happened.
“Everyone should be safe to enjoy a night out with friends or family and it’s sickening to think that there are some people who look to take advantage of others in this way. I’d like to send a clear message to anyone who thinks spiking is a laugh and that it’s not a crime - it absolutely is, and North Yorkshire Police take it incredibly seriously. We will do everything we can to identify offenders and we will look to pursue a criminal prosecution, which could result in a prison sentence.”
For more information about drink spiking and how to protect yourself from it visit www.drinkaware.co.uk