Drink Spiking a Common Practice on U.S. College Campuses

'Female student binge drinking'

About 10 percent of respondents said that their drinks must have been spiked  during college years.

A study recently published in the journal Psychology of Violence suggests that drink spiking on college campuses is more than just an urban myth. About 10 percent of surveyed students claim that their drinks were spiked at least once or saw somebody else’s drink being spiked. Surprisingly about 20 percent of victims were males.

Study authors were curious to learn whether drink spiking was real or people couldn’t remember stuff after a party because they had drunk too much.

Prof. Suzanne Swan and her colleagues sifted through data on more than 6,000 students from three major U.S. universities. About 460 students (7.8 percent of respondents) said that they were victims of drink spiking at some time in the past. About 1.4 percent admitted they spiked somebody else’s drink or saw someone drug other people.

The most popular drugs used in the practice were Xanax, ketamine, and Rohypnol.

But being a woman boosted the risk of having their drinks spiked on. And in many cases women were drugged to be taken advantage of or robbed. Surprisingly, 21 percent of drink spiking victims were male students.

Some women involved in the practice cited sexual assault as a motive, while most men said they did it for the fun. In a few cases, a person was drugged to be calmed down. Prof. Swan noted that even if it was just for the lulz, it was against the victim’s consent. And putting a substance into someone else’s body is as bad as having sexual intercourse without consent.

Nevertheless, researchers acknowledged that their study was based on self-reports so they don’t know for sure whose drink was actually spiked on and who has been drinking too much. Plus, some victims weren’t 100 percent sure that they had been drugged.

Study authors wrote in their paper that some ‘victims’ probably had too many drinks or drank something that it was more potent than what they were used to. Moreover, many OTC medications mixed with alcohol can lead to side effects similar to spiking.

Yet, the study findings are consistent with previous research on the issue. Two other research papers found that 8.5 percent of college students admitted to having been drugged. In Australia, 25 percent of young adults have reportedly fallen victims to drink spiking at least once.

The latest study found that young adults and college students have the highest risk of being drugged because they are also more likely to binge drinking.

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