Student Wellbeing

What is drink spiking?

A person’s drink can be spiked to make them more vulnerable for a variety of motives, including theft or sexual assault.

Different types of spiking can include the following substances being added to drinks:

  • Alcohol
  • ‘Date rape’ drugs
  • Illegal drugs
  • Prescription drugs (e.g. stimulants, tranquilisers, sedatives, opiates)

Drink spiking can happen to any type of drink, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic. The effects can be unpredictable but are likely to be more serious if someone who’s had their drink spiked has also consumed more alcohol, or other drugs. This is because of the combination of effects from the different drugs working at the same time.

Shots of alcohol can be added to drinks to make them stronger, causing someone to get drunk much quicker than expected. Or sometimes a drink can be spiked with drugs that are specifically designed to incapacitate someone.

Symptoms of drink spiking (From Drink Aware)

The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with. Your symptoms could include:

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Loss of balance
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Visual problems
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

The symptoms will depend on lots of factors such as the substance or mix of substances used (including the dose), your size and weight, and how much alcohol you have already consumed.

If you or a friend start to feel strange or more drunk than you should be, then get help straight away.

Our community is an environment where misconduct and criminal behaviour are never tolerated. At Newcastle University we strongly believe that responsibility for this kind of behaviour lies solely with those who conduct it, and that this is a criminal matter.

Safety First

If someone is in immediate danger or is seriously injured:
Call 999 and ask for the appropriate responders.

Additionally, if you are on Newcastle University Campus, inform Newcastle University Security about what has happened using the Safe Zone app or by calling 0191 208 6666.

How to help a friend who you think has been spiked (From Drink Aware)

If you think a friend has had their drink spiked, and they are showing any of the symptoms described above there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Tell a bar manager, door or member of staff
  • Stay with them and keep talking to them
  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates
  • Don’t let them go home on their own
  • Don’t let them leave with someone you don’t know or trust
  • If using a taxi, ensure you use a licensed taxi.  You can also use the Safe Taxi Scheme
  • Don’t let them drink more alcohol - this could lead to more serious problems

Report anonymously to the University

Our online Report and Support Tool enables students and colleagues to report concerns about all forms of misconduct, harassment, and discrimination anonymously. There is a dedicated reporting category for spiking, and you can report it alongside other concerns at the same time. Whether you experienced this directly, witnessed it, or heard through a third party, our report and support tool will record the incident and inform our preventative work.

Support for Students

Remember you do not have to make any formal report to the University or the Police to receive free and confidential support from the University.

Student Health and Wellbeing Team are experienced in supporting students who have been victims of discrimination or harassment and they work closely with local and national partners to link you to more specialist support, should you need it.

Report and Support – you can report anonymously or click ‘Speak to an advisor’. If you choose ‘Speak to an advisor’ a member of our Hate Crime and Sexual Violence Prevention team will contact you within 2 working days to discuss your needs and the support we can offer.

Our Hate Crime and Sexual Violence Prevention Lead can offer support via phone, email, or video call. Contact reportandsupport@newcastle.ac.uk for more details.

Our Faith and Spirituality Team provide dedicated and confidential support for anyone affected by harassment and in need of someone to talk to. They can be contacted by email: pastoral.support@ncl.ac.uk.

You can receive confidential counselling support from the Newcastle University Student Health and Wellbeing Counselling Team.

All postgraduate students can receive free 24/7 personal support from our PG Support Service.

It may be a good idea to speak to your Personal Tutor or Research Supervisor to inform your school of the impact your experiences have had upon your studies and where this has had a negative impact on an assignment/examination you can seek an adjustment via the PEC system.

Further support

Newcastle University Student Union (NUSU)

Details about the NUSU Welfare and Equality Officer can be found here, and further details of support available from the Students' Union can be found here.

If matters are impacting on your academic work, your accommodation, or finances, you can contact the Student Advice Centre for support.

You can also report hate crimes and hate incidents directly to your Student Union via their disclosure form.

Safe Zone App

SafeZone is a free app for all students and colleagues that connects you directly to the University security team if you need help while you are on campus.

You can get urgent help if you or someone near you, feels threatened or is the victim of an assault or robbery. You can also call for First Aid or help in less urgent situations. When you raise an alarm or call for help, all on-campus security team members will be alerted to your situation and location so that they can co-ordinate to help you quickly and effectively.

iNCLude 24/7

The iNCLude self help app is designed to help you take small steps to improve and maintain your wellbeing. The app has been designed with specialists, using evidence-based methodology and looks at how to maximise your experience at University by creating positive habits to ensure you’re focussing on more than just your academic studies.

TalkCampus 24/7

TalkCampus is based around peer support; you can use it if you need some help. The platform is safe and moderated, and is designed as a place where you can just be yourself and talk about how you’re really feeling. Student life can be tough especially during these Covid-19 times. This is your community which enables you to connect with fellow students around the world any time of day or night and get support for whatever’s on your mind. TalkCampus 24/7 isn’t a replacement for counselling or professional support from your GP however it is a great place to start talking and to make sure that however you’re feeling right now you’re not alone.

Your student email address will give you free access, just download TalkCampus from this site or directly from the app stores.