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Drinks spiked not only in big cities

Tuesday, 8th February, 2011

Drink spiking can happen to anyone so it is important to be aware of the dangers, says the health service. Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended, is the message Drink spiking can happen to anyone so it is important to be aware of the dangers, says the health service. Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended, is the message

Local partygoers are being urged to protect themselves from drink spiking in pubs and clubs.

Health service spokeswoman Emma Teuma said drink spiking can happen very quickly, and if you're not alert, you could be a victim.

"If you're socialising in a crowded pub or club with dimmed lights and loud music, it's very easy to lose concentration and forget to watch your drink at all times," said Mrs Teuma, Drug and Alcohol Health Promotion Officer.

"It only takes a second for someone to slip a potentially harmful drug into a drink.

"It's sometimes hard to tell if your drink has been spiked, because the drugs are usually colourless, tasteless and odourless.

"Everyone will react differently, but the effects usually start within 15 to 30 minutes, and could last up to eight hours."

Ms Teuma said drink spiking can be a frightening experience not only for the victim but their friends too.

"It can turn a night out into a nightmare, creating a blurry mess of memories, and potentially serious health problems," she said.

Mrs Teuma cautioned that it is not only strangers that partygoers should to be wary of. 

"It's a common misconception that only strangers are perpetrators, but a large number of reported incidents show drink spiking is often undertaken as a joke towards a work colleague, acquaintance, or even a romantic partner.

"Most 'prank spikers' would not consider their actions to be criminal, or to represent actual harm or assault, but it is a serious crime.

"It is against the law to intoxicate a person unknowingly or against their will."

The taste of a spiked drink is unlikely to be noticed, she said, and sedatives were also used because they slow down and relax your body.

The Far West NSW Local Health Network advises people not to accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended. If someone offers you a drink, go to the bar with them.

Ms Teuma said: "Don't drink something you did not open or see get opened and poured. If you feel dizzy, sick, or confused ask someone you know and trust to take you to a safe place or ask bar staff to ring a taxi or a friend to come and get you.

If you think you are a victim of drink spiking, it was important to tell someone behind the bar or someone close to you and seek medical help, she said.

"If you wake up feeling uncomfortable or disorientated, with memory blanks from the night before, visit your GP."

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