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Spiking of drinks

1 A trawl of internet reports finds that spiked drinks fall into a number of categories:

(a) Sport - drinks spiked with e.g. steroids to cause an athlete to fail a drugs test

(b) Stupefaction/Date Rape - Rohypnol or Gamma-Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB) - used to sedate a victim and interfere with memory for events

(c) Other - use of hallucinogens (LSD) or stimulants (amphetamine/cocaine) to cause changes in the victim"s mood or behaviour


2 The most common drugs used to spike drinks are Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) and GHB, both of which are colourless and tasteless. Both are sedatives, and are used to induce stupor and compliance in victims for the purposes of rape and/or sexual assault. These drugs have the "advantage" of disturbing the victims memory to the extent that they frequently cannot recall events.

3 Steroids can cause violent or aggressive behaviour ("roid rage"), their use and availability among UK drug users is rare, and general use is confined to specific groups including bodybuilders or gay men. Spiking of food or drink can occur in order to cause a rival athlete to fail a drugs test.

4 The most common drug to induce bizarre behaviour or mood is LSD, which has become less common in the UK over recent years. However the drug is effective in microgram doses, although as it normally appears on blotting paper squares, spiking a drink would be difficult to conceal. Liquid LSD has been found in eye-dropper bottles. If a drink was spiked from such a source it would be undetectable.

5 Amphetamine is not commonly associated with spiking of drinks, and there are a handful of such reports. However, I was involved in a case of alleged spiking with amphetamine some years ago, leading to uncharacteristic behaviour on the part of that defendant. Amphetamine has a bitter taste which would be detectable in some drinks, although a bitter beer or lager could mask the flavour.

6 There are also reports of drinks being spiked with ecstasy, although a tablet (with e.g. chalk binder) would not be likely to dissolve fully and thus be detectable. MDMA can appear in powder form which could be used to spike a drink.

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