Drink spiking is a criminal offence with a five-year jail term. It is important that licensees and staff are aware of the increasing concerns surrounding drink spiking in venues, hold a current RSA certificate and are capable of implementing preventative and monitoring measures to help protect their patrons.
Traditionally, drink spiking is known as placing illicit drugs into a drink. This is no longer the case in many places. It may well be ordering drinks for people with extra shots of alcohol, such as vodka, to increase their rate of intoxication. This has direct implications in the responsible service of alcohol and the venue.
Management should implement some of the policies outlined within the Responsible Service of Alcohol. The most common being – setting a standard or House Policy for the number of standard drinks they will serve in one glass. Some establishments have a two standard drinks policy, and will no serve any more than two shots in one drink. If they receive a request for cocktails with more than two alcoholic ingredients, they are poured in half shots. This therefore, controls the amount of alcohol being supplied in a responsible way, and helps to prevent the opportunity of spiking.
Staff should also question any drinks requests from patrons, look after people who suddenly appear intoxicated and scrutinise any person offering to assist them home. RSA staff can help protect their patrons by:
- Getting any affected person to a safe, quiet place and stay with them,
- Call an ambulance if they become unconscious, and
- Ensure that the person who is assisting them home is indeed a friend.
The best way to prevent drink spiking is to follow Responsible Service of Alcohol principles, and to:
- Remove unattended glasses
- Report suspicious behaviour
- Do not sell or promote alcohol in a way that leads to rapid consumption
- Be aware of unusual requests, such as beer with a shot of vodka
- Decline a customer request to add alcohol to a person’s drink.