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Spiked drinks

'Sure I'll have another – since I'm not paying!'

The trend of spiking drinks has become a growing problem in Australia and overseas. Spiking a drink means that it has had some kind of drug added to it, including alcohol.

Drink spiking can happen to girls and guys – it may be used for sexual assault, robbery or as a practical joke or party trick.

What are the physical symptoms?

The main sign that you've had a spiked drink is that you feel noticeably drunk more quickly that you would expect. You may also experience:

Many victims of drink spiking describe having blackouts and can't remember what happened to them the next day.

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What can I do about it?

Drink spiking doesn't mean you should lock yourself up at home and never go out. Girls have the right to party and enjoy themselves just as much as guys. It just means that when you do go out, be aware of things going on around you.

Spiking safety tips

Alcohol

Most of the publicity about spiking is about adding chemicals to drinks so that the drinker can be 'knocked out'. This does happen, and it can have very serious consequences, but it is actually quite rare.

A much more common 'trick' by far is to add extra alcohol to a drink (e.g. by ordering a double scotch instead of a single) or to give someone a lot of drinks so they lose track of what they've drunk. The use of alcohol and drugs is a major issue in date rape. A 1996 survey found that alcohol had been involved in 44.9 percent of sexual assaults for women 15 years and over.

Alcohol is often used to loosen women up. It can lower your self-control and make you behave in ways you wouldn't normally. You may be less able to refuse someone who's making a move on you or pressuring you to do something you don't want to do.

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'It's OK for guys'

In our society there are double standards around alcohol and drug use for girls and guys.

If she drinks …

If he drinks …

The fact is nobody ever asks to be raped, regardless of whether they were drinking or not. Just because girls are out enjoying themselves doesn't mean they're sexually available. The responsibility for any sexual assault is always with the attacker. 

Remember, sexual assault is a crime.

In Victoria, for example, the law states that a person is unable to consent to sex if they are drunk or on drugs. Consent means free agreement. A woman is unable to give a free agreement to sex if she is drunk or out of it.

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