We recognise that everyone should be safe to enjoy a night out but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. If you are drunk on a night out you become vulnerable and much more likely to be targeted.
A few things you should do before you leave the house
Make sure you’ve charged your phone before you leave
Get cash out during the day rather than at night
Put your keys, ID and other valuables somewhere you won’t lose them
Keep your wallet safe – not in your back pocket
If you’ve brought a bag don’t leave it unattended when you’re out
- Safety in numbers. Always stay within a group where possible
- Pre-arrange a taxi or arrange a lift
- If travelling by bus, sit on the lower deck to be nearer the exit and driver
- Drink in moderation
- Always watch your drink, or put a sticker over the top to prevent spiking
- Stick to well-lit areas
- Keep your valuables hidden
- Stay away from hostile situations
It’s likely that you or some of your friends will be drinking. Having a couple drinks throughout the night isn’t a worry, but overdoing it isn’t safe.
Here are a few tips when it comes to drinking safely
- Eat before you drink so your body can better process your drinks – alcohol on an empty stomach will have you over the toilet in no time
- Pace your drinks out -if you want to keep track of what you’re drinking you can check out the Drinkcoach drinks calculator
- Don’t accept drinks from someone you don’t know
- Avoid mixing different types of drinks; if you’re drinking beer, stick with beer
- Drink water or soft drinks regularly throughout the night
- If one of your friends has had a bit too much to drink make sure to get them some water and fresh air to help them sober up
- Avoid drinking and swimming – alcohol numbs your senses and can make it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble
- No “minesweeping” – collecting unattended or near empty drinks just because you’re dry – you don’t know what’s in those drinks or who’s mouth has been on it
- As a whole, drugs consumed in a drink just aren’t safe – you should never consume an unknown substance (whether it’s food, a drink or a drug) as the consequences of doing so could be life threatening
Signs that someone has been spiked
These vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with, but common symptoms include:
- Lowered inhibitions
- Lack of coordination and slurred speech
Most date rape drugs start to have an effect after about 15-30 minutes after they’ve entered your body. The symptoms usually last for several hours.
How to help a spiking victim
If your friend is showing signs of being spiked, here’s what to do:
- If you’re at a bar, tell the manager or door staff. If you’re at a party, tell the host.
- Stay with your friend and keep talking to them
- Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates
- If you’re on your own, call someone you trust for support
How to avoid having your drink spiked
- Don’t leave your drink unattended
- Don’t accept a drink from somebody you don’t know
- Don’t drink anything that you didn’t see being poured.
- You can also use a Spikey, which goes inside the neck of the bottle and stops anything being dropped into it. Or, keep your thumb over the top of your bottle in between sips.
- If you’re at a party and if there’s a cocktail bowl, don’t drink from it – you don’t know how strong it is or if drugs have been slipped in.
Spiked or drunk?
Being very drunk can be confused with being spiked as the symptoms can be similar.
Keeping track of how many drinks and units you’ve had will help you stay in control and spot the signs of being spiked early.
'If in doubt 'Ask Angela'
If you’re caught on a night out and you don’t feel safe for whatever reason, some pubs, clubs and bars are part of the ‘ask Angela ‘ scheme. Just go to the bar and ‘ask for Angela‘. It’s a safety word and they will know that you’re on a dodgy date, or feeling unsafe and will help you escape in a taxi or get you in touch with someone you trust.