Most people have heard of drink spiking. There are viral lists on how to avoid getting drugged or how to tell if a drink was tampered with. However, the issue is a lot more common than people think. Drink spiking — drugging someone by slipping a drug into their drink without their consent — has been given scant research. But an Australian study with 805 participants aged 18–35 found that 25% had experienced drink spiking.  It’s a more prevalent problem than people think. So when this bar heard a report of a man spiking a woman’s drink, they jumped to protect her.
“I Saw a Man Spiking a Woman’s Drink”
Reddit user xXSlimi_Gacha009 opened the discussion by asking, “Bartenders of Reddit, what was the weirdest/craziest thing you have overheard while making someone’s drink?”
“Some girl comes up next to where I was sitting and tells the bartender ‘excuse me, but I just saw that guy (customer) right there put something in that girl’s drink’. I didn’t see the guy she pointed to. The bartender turns around and said something, I suspect a code word to somebody and BAM. Immediately all the lights go on, the manager steps on stage, stops the band, and makes the following announcement:
“‘Attention: We have a report that someone in this room possibly drugged a young lady’s drink. We request that all women here immediately put down your drink and don’t take another sip. We will replace your drink for free. If you are that young lady, we will notify you when you come to the bar. If anyone is feeling sick or weak, please let us know.’”
The lights stayed on, and the band kept silent during this whole preceding. The user says that nobody complained about the disruption, but the identity and exact crime of the perpetrator remained unknown to him. “That place rocks,” he concluded.
In the comments, he added that the incident occurred at a bar called Tipitina’s about a decade ago.
The Crime of Drink Spiking
“Drinking spiking can result in a range of harms; it can include sexual assault, robbery, and unprotected sex,” said Yvette Jaczina from Bendigo’s Centre for Non-Violence. “It’s coercive and controlling behavior; it’s about a sense of entitlement.
“The sense that someone is entitled to someone else’s body — it related back to issues of power imbalance and gender inequality, and very disturbing attitudes.” 
Symptoms of Drink Spiking
However, sometimes cases of spiked drinks are overlooked since the symptoms of being drugged are mistaken for typical signs of drunkenness. Additionally, the severity of the symptoms could depend on what drug and drink were consumed, the dosage, the size of the victim, and how much alcohol they had already had. With that in mind, the symptoms could include:
- Feeling drunk, drowsy, or woozy
- Feeling more ‘out of it’ than expected
- Speech difficulties
- Mental confusion
- Memory loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breathing issues
- Muscle spasms or seizures
- Loss of consciousness
- A severe hangover disproportionate to the amount of alcohol drunk 
Date rape drugs like Rohypnol, Valium, GBL, GHB, and ketamine act quickly without much warning to the victim. Many of these substances are odorless, colorless, and tasteless. They may change the color of a clear liquid or make it look cloudy, but these effects are easily hidden with darker-colored drinks or in a dark room. These drugs are hazardous when they are mixed with alcohol. In rare cases, spiking a person’s drink could induce a coma or even cause their death.
“There are some symptoms which GHB produces; nausea, vomiting, incontinence, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and tremors, and agitation,” said drug safety worker Paul Morgan from Bendigo Community Health. “Death can be brought on through an overdose of GHB, largely through people vomiting and that chokes their airways, they lose consciousness, and they have seizures.“
What to Do if You Witness a Spiking
Like the girl in the Reddit story, if you see someone spiking a man or woman’s drink, report the incident to a bar manager, member of the staff, or a bouncer as soon as possible. If the victim shows signs of drunkenness, make sure they are in trusted hands, namely the bar staff, or keep an eye on them yourself. An alleged friend or date could have been the perpetrator.
If the victim is a friend, stay with them and keep talking to them. If their symptoms worsen, call an ambulance. Ensure they are escorted home by someone you trust; don’t let them try to get home alone. Try to prevent them from drinking more alcohol to avoid worsening their symptoms and potentially cause more severe issues. Ensure they get a urine and blood test within the first 24 hours to verify the presence of drugs.
To avoid becoming a victim yourself, don’t accept drinks you haven’t seen be poured. Keep an eye on your drink at all times. Although many drugs are undetectable, some are. If a drink tastes, smells, or looks strange, don’t drink it. Above all, look out for your friends and have them look out for you. 
- “More Than A Myth: Drink Spiking Happens.” APA. May 24, 2016
- “People Are Applauding How This Bar Dealt With Someone Spiking A Woman’s Drink.” Bored Panda. Rokas Laurinavičius and Austėja Akavickaitė. April 13, 2021
- “’I collapsed in the street after drink spiking’.” BBC. Ben Robinson.. November 27, 2019
- “Police increase patrols following increase in reports of drink-spiking incidents in Bendigo.” ABC. Sarah Lawrence and James Findlay. March 19, 2021
- “Drink spiking.” Better Health.
- “Date rape drugs facts*.” Medicine Net.