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Emergency action required: If you have been spiked or are in urgent need of help

  • call 112 or 999
  • go to a safe place
  • let a member of staff or security know

What is spiking?

Spiking is when someone gives another person drugs or alcohol without their knowledge or consent.

This can be done by:

  • putting something into someone's drink
  • secretly using a needle to inject someone with something - usually in a crowded place
  • offering someone substances disguised as other drugs
  • purposely giving someone more of a substance than they intended to have or knew they were taking - for example, giving someone a double shot of alcohol instead of a single shot

Anyone can be a target of spiking.

Spiking is a serious crime regardless of why someone does it.

What to do if you think you've been spiked

If you think you or someone you’re with has been spiked, get help from someone you trust straight away, call 112 or 999 and go to a safe place.

If you're at a venue, let a member of staff or security know.

Urgent advice: If you think or know you've been sexually assaulted

A Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) is somewhere you can go if you have been raped or sexually assaulted. They can offer you a forensic exam and medical care if you've been hurt or injured. You may need help for a possible pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Urgent advice: Other ways to get help

If you need to talk to someone about something that might have happened or you are worried about being spiked or sexually assaulted, you can get help and support from:

You can still get support from these services, even if you do not report the spiking incident or assault to the Gardaí.

Signs of spiking

The signs that someone has been spiked depend on various factors.

Some of these factors can be:

  • what they were spiked with
  • how much of a substance they were spiked with
  • if they have already taken drugs or alcohol and how much they have had

But, signs of spiking can be:

  • nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • dizziness
  • feeling faint or sleepy
  • being confused or disorientated
  • feeling more drunk than how you would normally feel
  • unconsciousness (passing out)
  • difficulty walking, talking, concentrating or controlling your body
  • memory loss or 'blackouts' - when you forget periods of time
  • visual problems, particularly blurred vision
  • paranoia - a feeling of fear or distrust of others
  • hallucinations - seeing, hearing or touching things that are not there
  • temporary loss of body sensation - having an 'out of body' experience

Best ways to stay safe

Spiking is never your fault. But there are things you can do to keep yourself and others safe.


  • keep your drinks close to you at all times - do not leave them unattended

  • buy and pour your own drinks

  • look out for your friends and their drinks


  • do not share drinks with others

  • do not drink your drink if you are not sure about it

  • do not take drugs from someone you do not know

  • do not drink anything that you did not see being opened or poured

  • do not leave your friends if you think you have been spiked

Page last reviewed: 25 September 2023
Next review due: 25 September 2026

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