Drink Spike Drug Testing

Drink Spike Drug Testing

Drink spiking takes place when a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, is added to your drink without you knowing about it. The symptoms of drink spiking depend on the type of drug used. The effects also depend on the size and shape of a person, as well as the amount of the drink consumed, the age of the person and the amount of alcohol drank beforehand.

It is possible for any drugs to be slipped into drinks without knowledge. There are drugs that are pill-based, liquid and powder and many don’t have a smell or taste to them.

Date Rape Drink Spiking

Some of the most common drugs for spiking drinks are called date rape drugs. They make it harder for people to resist an attack. The most often used drugs for drink spiking are:

  • alcohol
  • gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL)
  • tranquilisers, normally benzodiazepines, including valium and rohypnol
  • ketamine

Date rape drugs generally start working very quickly. The duration of the effects will depend on how much of the drug is administered and if it the drug was used with other substances.  Generally, alcohol heightens the strength of the drugs, and can increase the side effects. Mixing the drugs with alcohol is extremely dangerous due to the anesthetic effect. You may become unconscious and in some cases it can cause death.

The symptoms for the common date rape drugs are similar and can include:

  • a light-headed or drowsy feeling
  • memory loss (amnesia) and black outs, not being able to remember parts of the evening.
  • reduced inhibitions
  • finding it hard to concentrate
  • disorientation and confusion
  • feeling confused or disorientated, especially if you have been asleep.
  • slurred speech
  • lack of muscle control and motor abilities
  • paranoia
  • feeling like you are floating or in a dreamy state
  • blurred vision
  • seeing, hearing or touching things that aren’t actually there
  • vomiting and nausea
  • unconsciousness

Drinks Most Likely to be Spiked

While any drink can potentially be spiked, some beverages are more susceptible targets than others. Understanding the risks associated with different types of drinks can help individuals stay vigilant and take appropriate precautions.

Alcoholic Drinks
Due to their prevalent consumption in social settings, alcoholic drinks like beer, wine, and cocktails are prime targets for drink spiking. The taste of alcohol can mask the presence of added substances, making it easier for perpetrators to slip in drugs undetected.

Soft Drinks and Juices
Non-alcoholic beverages like sodas, juices, and even water bottles can also be tampered with. Their neutral or sweet flavors may not immediately reveal the presence of foreign substances, making them vulnerable to spiking.

Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks, are sometimes targeted for spiking. The effects of added drugs can potentially counteract or exacerbate the stimulant properties of caffeine, leading to unpredictable and dangerous reactions.

The Drugs That Are Used For Date Rape

The common drugs used for date rape are described here.


The most common date rape drug used is alcohol. It is easily added to non-alcoholic drinks without knowledge and double measures are used easily instead of single ones. It becomes difficult to tell the amount you are drinking if you have already been drinking. The main factor for determining the effect of the drug is the amount drank.

Copious alcoholic amounts can lead to passing out and vomiting while asleep. Your body is only able to process one alcohol unit per hour, so the length of time it takes to leave the system is determined by the number of units you have drank.

Alcohol is the drug most commonly used to spike drinks as it is relatively cheap, legal and easily available. In many situations alcohol can be added to drinks without arousing suspicion.

Zoom Testing rapid saliva alcohol tests be used to detect the presence of alcohol in some drinks.

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate and Gamma-butyrolactone

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate is commonly referred to as GHB and is often found as a colorless, oily liquid. Some can find it in a powder form. Victims are affected by the smallest amounts of GHB and it quickly dissolves into drinks. It often gives a drink an unpleasant taste but when used in small doses and mixed with strong flavors, it often goes unnoticed.

GHB can cause vomiting, seizures, coma, respiratory arrest and even death. The side effects of GHB are intensified when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. When GHB is combined with alcohol, it is especially dangerous because the mixture of  the two depressants can lead to overdose

Zoom Testing now has a Date Rape Test Kit will screen your drink for GHB and Ketamine, two of the most common drink spike drugs.


There are hundreds of forms of tranquillisers. Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used. It is possible to get tranquillisers on prescription to help treat insomnia and anxiety. They slow the nervous system, allowing to feel more relaxed and relieve tension. Most come in tablet form.

A common drug for drink spiking is Flunitrazepam or Rohypnol™. This drug has the street name of forget-pill or “roofies”. Rohypnol lowers inhibitions when mixed with small amounts of alcohol, which is why it is a potential date rape drug. Users often behave in violent or destructive ways because of reduced inhibitions.

Rohypnol comes in pill-form and can be dissolved in a drink. Previously this drug was colourless when dissolved, but the manufacturers have changed the drug so it turns  blue when dropped in liquid.

Zoom Testing offers a drink spike test kit which can detect the presence of benzodiazepines in some drinks.

Further reading: What are Tranquillisers?


Often referred to as K, ketamine is powerful and used on humans and animals. In a liquid form it is legal but there are tablet and white powder forms that are illegally purchased. Some of the affects of the drug include feeling that the mind is separate from the body and hallucinations (where people hear and see things that are not really there).

Hallucinations are also a common outcome of ketamine use. People under the influence of the drug may encounter visual or auditory hallucinations, perceiving things that are not actually present. These hallucinations can range from mild distortions to vivid and intense experiences.

The combination of these effects makes ketamine a dangerous substance when used in drink spiking. Victims of drink spiking who unknowingly consume ketamine-laced beverages may experience disorientation, loss of consciousness, and memory loss. They may become vulnerable to various risks, including sexual assault, robbery, or other forms of harm.

To combat drink spiking and the use of drugs like ketamine, various preventative measures have been implemented. Bars and clubs often provide bottle stoppers to protect drinks and discourage unauthorised tampering. Additionally, it is crucial for individuals to be cautious and vigilant while consuming alcoholic beverages, remaining aware of their surroundings and never accepting drinks from strangers.

Further reading: What is Ketamine?

Staying Safe: Preventive Measures

While drink spiking is an unfortunate reality, there are practical steps individuals can take to protect themselves and their loved ones. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

  1. Never Leave Your Drink Unattended: Even for a brief moment, leaving your drink unattended can create an opportunity for tampering. If you must step away, consider finishing your drink or getting a fresh one upon your return.
  2. Watch Your Drink Being Prepared: When possible, keep an eye on your drink as it’s being made or poured to ensure no substances are added without your knowledge.
  3. Use Drink Covers or Bottle Stoppers: Invest in reusable drink covers or bottle stoppers that can help prevent substances from being introduced into your beverage.
  4. Be Cautious with Shared Drinks: Avoid sharing drinks or accepting open containers from others, as this increases the risk of unknowingly consuming a spiked beverage.
  5. Trust Your Instincts: If you start to feel unusually impaired or experience symptoms that don’t align with your typical alcohol consumption, seek immediate medical attention and inform trusted friends or authorities.

By staying vigilant, being proactive, and looking out for one another, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to drink spiking and its potentially harmful consequences.

Photo: “Spiked Drink” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Testing

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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