The NHS estimates that hundreds of students are victims of spiking every year. What is spiking? It is the practice of covertly adding drugs or other substances to a person’s drink in order to achieve some intended purpose. Spiking is often nothing more than a practical joke done for laughs. However, it can be more sinister in nature.
Spiking at universities is a way for young men to ‘loosen up’ young women for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity. Other students might spike drink as a way to knock people out so they can steal from student rooms. When spiking is used for these purposes, the carelessness involved can lead to tragic results.
There are steps you can take, as a student, to avoid being spiked:
- Binge Drinking – Unfortunately, too many students engage in binge drinking during their time at university. Binge drinking opens you up to being spiked because the large amount of alcohol consumed lowers your inhibitions and reduces your ability to concentrate. Avoid binge drinking if you do not want to get spiked.
- Drink Choices – In order to spike, the offender needs access to a drink. You can avoid being spiked by staying away from open containers such as punch bowls and foam cups. Instead, drink only from original containers or from cups you have poured directly from previously unopened containers.
- Drinking Companions – Part of the college social scene is meeting new people and making new friends. However, be careful of those companions with whom you choose to drink. Never accept drinks from someone you do not know, and make an agreement with your friends that you will watch out for one another.
- Your Image – Many students don’t realise the image they project affects the likelihood of getting spiked. If you project a carefree, ‘trust everyone’ image, others may see you as an easy target. An image of caution and confidence does just the opposite.
You can still be spiked even if you take all of the precautions in the world. Therefore, you should always go out with friends who can help you if you start showing signs of having consumed a spiked drink. You might also consider letting people who are not going out with you know where you are going. Of course, never give out personal information to people you do not already know well.
We have already listed four ways you can reduce the likelihood of being spiked. Nevertheless, there is a fifth suggestion that virtually guarantees you will not be spiked: do not drink. As abnormal as avoiding drink seems to be, it is impossible for a drink to be spiked if you are not drinking.
There are many other things you can do with your free time that do not involve alcohol consumption. For example, get involved with a group of kids that enjoy outdoor sports such as bicycling and trekking. Alternatively, join a group of students that invests their time in charity work. You do not have to go drinking and partying in order to have a fulfilling university career. Staying away from alcohol will not only reduce your chances of being spiked, it will also greatly diminish the likelihood of alcohol problems later in life.
Here at Addiction Helper, we have seen first-hand how damaging alcohol use among students can be. We have talked to students, just like you, who have found themselves victims of spiking that resulted in date rape, theft, or worse. Please protect yourself. If you need help with an alcohol problem, do not hesitate to contact us through our 24-hour help line. Inform yourself about students and addiction problems from our student addiction guide.