Article Text

Download PDFPDF

A study of patients presenting to an emergency department having had a “spiked drink”
  1. Hywel Hughes1,
  2. Rachael Peters1,
  3. Gareth Davies2,
  4. Keith Griffiths3
  1. 1Emergency Department, Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, Wales, UK
  2. 2Biochemistry Department, Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, Wales, UK
  3. 3Biochemistry Department, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, Wales, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrHywel Hughes
 Emergency Department, Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Croesnewydd Road, Wrexham, Wales, UK;{at}


Objectives: To assess the scale of drink spiking in our area and identify which drugs are being used to spike drinks and also to assess whether there is a problem with drink spiking in any particular establishment.

Methods: A prospective study of all patients presenting to an emergency department with alleged drink spiking over a 12-month period. Samples were analysed for levels of alcohol and drugs of misuse. Information was collected as to where the alleged spiking took place and the involvement of the police.

Results: 75 patients attended with alleged drink spiking over the period of 12 months. 42 samples were analysed and tested positive for drugs of misuse in 8 (19%) cases. 65% of those tested had alcohol concentrations >160 mg%. The alleged spiking took place in 23 different locations, with 2 locations accounting for 31% of responses. Only 14% of those questioned had informed the police.

Conclusions: Most patients allegedly having had a spiked drink test negative for drugs of misuse. The symptoms are more likely to be a result of excess alcohol.

  • GHB, γ-hydroxybutyrate

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethical committee approval for this study was granted by the North East Wales Local Research Ethics Committee (application reference number 04/WnoO3/33).

Linked Articles

  • Primary Survey
    Jonathan Wyatt