You’re at a party, game, or another social event. You take a sip of your soda or water. Suddenly, you feel funny. Your vision blurs. The room starts to spin. The next thing you know, you wake up hours later, with no recollection of the night before. You may have been a victim of a spiked drink. It sounds like something that only happens in a movie. Unfortunately, it really can happen. A new law working its way through the North Carolina house aims to create more punishments for people that spike drinks.
Spiked drinks may seem like an urban myth, but it happens more often than you think.
How Do I Detect if My Drink was Spiked?
Someone spiking your drink is a very big, and very real, fear in the lives of both students and parents. It’s one thing to know what to look for if your child or friend has been drinking. But what if their drink was spiked? Talk It Out NC wants to help you tell if you or your friends may be under the influence of a spiked drink. Watch out for these warning signs to keep you and your friends safe when you go out.1. The Color of Your Drink has Changed
It may seem obvious, but a change in the color of your drink is a strong indicator that it may be spiked. Some adulterants might turn your drink a darker or lighter color than it was before. Newer versions of some drink-spiking drugs (such as Rohypnol) are designed to turn drinks blue. If you have to ask if it’s a different color, pour it out immediately.2. Your Drink Looks Cloudy
Many drugs that people use to spike drinks are difficult to detect, but there are some warning signs to look out for. If your previously clear drink has a cloudy look to it that it didn’t have before, that’s a sign that something may have been slipped into it.3. Excessive Bubbles
This can be trickier to identify, especially with carbonated beverages like soda or sparkling water. Some drugs react with beverages by fizzing up, sending an excess of bubbles to the top of your drink. If you notice this, or see bubbles in a drink that wasn’t carbonated, do not drink it and report it to the authorities and/or a responsible adult.4. Your Drink Tastes Funny
If your drink tastes different than it did before, there’s a good chance that it might have been spiked. If you notice a bitter or salty taste in your drink, then someone may have added something to it. If you ever think your drink tastes funny, don’t finish it. Throw it out, and be sure to tell someone in charge.
What Signs Can I Look for if My Friend’s Drink was Already Spiked?
Sometimes, by the time you notice that someone spiked your or drink or that of a friend, it’s already too late. Do you think that you or a friend may have ingested a spiked drink? Know how to spot the signs! It’s important that you stay vigilant and know what to look for. These are some of the behaviors and indicators that you might have had your drink spiked.
Sudden Loss of Balance
The effects of a spiked drink can mimic or greatly enhance the effects of alcohol. That includes a loss of balance. If a friend begins behaving in a way that seems inconsistent with what they’ve been drinking, there’s a chance that their drink may have been spiked.
Impaired Speech or Slurring
Are you or your friend having difficulty speaking? Did your friend seem fine a little while ago and is now struggling to put together a sentence? If you notice a marked difference in their speech, they could have been the victim of a spiked drink. If you think your friend may have been drugged, notify the authorities and/or a responsible adult immediately, keep a close eye on them, and preserve the drink as evidence if possible.
Many of the intoxicants used to spike drinks have sedative properties. That means that these drugs can cause you to feel sleepy or drowsy when you should be wide awake. If you or a friend unexpectedly begin to feel drowsy or light-headed, put down your drink and tell someone you trust. This can prove especially dangerous because when mixed with alcohol, these sedatives can cause coma or even death.
Issues with Vision
Vision problems can be a telltale sign that someone has tampered with your beverage. Are you or your friend experiencing blurred or double vision? Is the room starting to spin around you? Are you beginning to experience hallucinations? All of these are serious symptoms of being a victim of a spiked drink.
Even the most careful person can find themselves with a spiked drink. But if you know what to look for in a potentially spiked beverage, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the situation. You can also check your drinks using a new test developed by four North Carolina State University students. Of course, the safest way to ensure that your drink isn’t spiked is to only drink from cans or bottles that you opened yourself, and never leave your drink unattended. If you have to ask if your drink has been spiked, it isn’t worth the risk. Toss it out! Sign up for the Talk It Out NC newsletter to get even more helpful tips and information about how you can stop underage drinking.