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How to stay safe

Drink spiking and date rape drugs

If your drink has been spiked, it is unlikely that you will be able to see, taste or smell any difference. So, it's important to try to stop it from happening.

Follow this advice to help you stay safe from drink spiking when you are out.

Watch your drink

  • Keep your drink in your hand.
  • When possible, drink from a bottle rather than a glass - it's more difficult to spike a drink in a bottle.
  • Hold your thumb over the opening if you are drinking from a bottle.
  • Do not leave your drink unattended at any time, even while you are in the toilet.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • Keep an eye on your friend's drinks.
  • Do not share or exchange drinks, or drink leftover drinks.
  • Stay away from situations that you do not feel comfortable with.

Meeting strangers

  • Never accept a drink from anyone you don't know or trust.
  • If you go on a date with someone who you don't know, tell a friend or relative where you will be and what time you will be back.
  • Do not give away too much information to anyone you have just met, such as your address.

Be wary on holiday

  • If you're travelling abroad, be aware of the local area and where you can find help.
  • Do not show off expensive equipment or anything that thieves might target.
  • Make a plan for your journey home.

Remember that if you have already been drinking, you will be more vulnerable. This is because alcohol dulls your instincts and your awareness of danger.

Read more about how alcohol affects your health and wellbeing

If you think your drink has been spiked, don't drink it – tell a trusted friend or relative immediately.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.

page last reviewed: 23/04/2020
next review due: 23/04/2023

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.