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Monday, 27 February 2012

Help protect yourself from drink spiking

There have been several reports recently of students’ drinks being “spiked” by the addition of hypnotic drugs to the drink that can cause severe drowsiness and amnesia. Incidents have been alleged in local clubs and bars popular with students, venues in west London, and in one case inside one of the intercollegiate halls.

Fortunately, in those cases reported by residents in the intercollegiate halls, no one has been harmed and nothing bad has happened to them whilst they were under the influence of the hypnotic drug; but drink spiking is sometimes a technique used by criminals who may abduct, rob, or assault their victim whilst they are drowsy and leave the victim with no memory of what happened.

Drink spiking is still a rare occurrence. But you can protect yourself and your friends from becoming victims by being aware of the risks and following the advice below.

·       Keep your drink in your hand instead of on a surface.
·       Consider sticking to bottled drinks and holding your thumb over the opening between sips.
·       Keep an eye on your friends' drinks.
·       Never leave your drink unattended.
·       Never accept a drink from anyone you don't know or trust.
·       Never take a drink from a jug or bottle that is left out on the bar.
·       Don't share or exchange drinks, or drink leftover drinks.
·       When possible, drink from a bottle rather than a glass because it is more difficult to spike a drink in a bottle.
·       Stay away from situations that you do not feel comfortable with.
·       If you go on a date with someone you don't know, tell a friend or relative where you will be and what time you will be back.
·       Don't give away too much information to anyone you have just met, such as your address.
·       If you suspect your drink may have been spiked:
o Tell someone you trust – in Hall this should be the Duty Senior Member; outside, it might be the pub landlord, bar manager, or a close friend.
o If you feel unwell, someone you trust should take you to A&E at the nearest hospital and tell the medical staff that you think your drink has been spiked.
o Report it to the police as soon as you can. They will need to take blood and urine samples. Most drugs leave the body within 72 hours of being taken (the date-rape drug GHB leaves the body within 12 hours), so it's important to be tested as soon as possible.

Once again, please be reassured that in the cases reported by intercollegiate halls residents, no one has been harmed. But we do advise you to take the steps above to protect yourself from possible drink spinking.

Please share any information you have about drink spiking in local venues so we can build up an idea of where this is taking place and help protect other students: report any incidents to the police immediately and to me at the next opportunity.

The Senior Members and I are available in Hall as always to discuss
any concerns you might have about this or any other issues.