Drug-assisted rape

When it comes to rape, there is no grey area. If it happens to you, it can be a disgusting, life-altering event or something worse. Unfortunately, many young people have suffered sexual assault, especially when there are substances in the mix. This is not something we can ignore. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself safe.

A young woman is sitting on a bench alone. She is wearing a grey sweatset. She is thinking about drugs rape. This is a wide-angle image.

The facts 

  • Drug assisted rape isn’t on the rise, but you should still be informed.
  • The most commonly used substance in drug assisted rape is alcohol.
  • Victims are most likely to be targeted in pubs and clubs, but can also be drugged in their own homes, on university campuses or at work-related events.

The rapist 

  • They often deliberately set out to ‘spike’ drinks, or may be an opportunist who takes advantage of someone who is already drunk or drugged.
  • Statistically speaking, it’s likely that you’ll know your rapist – whether it’s a male friend, colleague, or someone you’ve just started dating.

The victim 

  • Can be male or female.
  • Has little or no memories of the attack in over 80% of cases.

Prevention of drug assisted rape

Whatever happens, you are NEVER to blame if you have been raped. No matter what you were wearing or how you were behaving, NOONE has the right to violate your body, That being said, there are certain things that you can do to increase your safety on a night out. Here are a few…

  • If you’re going out drinking, remember that alcohol can affect your actions and reactions. Be careful.
  • Buy bottled drinks and keep your thumb over the top when you’re not drinking.
  • Never leave your drink unattended.
  • If you return to your drink and it has been topped up, moved, or it looks different in any way, don’t drink from it again.
  • Be aware that soft drinks, tea, coffee and hot chocolate can be spiked too.
  • Look out for your friends, keep an eye on their drinks. If you think their drink has been spiked, let them know and leave the bar ASAP.

If someone spiked your drink / you think they have

  • After a drink, if you start to feel unwell, extremely drunk, or sleepy, get help straight away. Drugs work pretty quickly, so there won’t be much time to act before you’re incoherent. 
  • Ask a trusted friend for help. If you can’t get to them, go straight to the pub owner or security staff.
  • Wherever possible DO NOT accept help from strangers or any male friend or acquaintance whose behaviour is a bit strange.

If you’ve experienced a drug assisted rape (or even think you have) 

Confusion and shock are normal emotions. Remember there is no right or wrong way to behave right now, but reading our article ‘was it rape?’ may help you work out what you want to do next.

  • Don’t be scared to report the incident to the police, even if you are a recreational drug user, or have no memories of the attack. The sooner it is reported, the greater the chance of the offender being brought to justice. The responsibility for an attack lies solely with the perpetrator. Even if there was alcohol or drugs involved, you are not at fault. When you’re on a substance you don’t have the ability to consent to any sexual activity. To find out more about consent, click here. 
  • You’ll probably be suffering from trauma, and should seek medical attention and support, even if you do not want to report the attack to the police. Rape Crisis can refer you to local services for confidential help and counselling.
  • Most drugs leave the body in less than 72 hours, so try not to urinate until you have had a medical examination, or, if you do, keep a sample of your urine.
  • If your clothes etc have vomit on them, it may contain whatever drug was used. Whatever you do, don’t wash them (no matter how gross they get) because they can be used as evidence.

Next Steps

  • Rape Crisis offers support and advice to victims of rape and sexual assault, no matter how long ago the attack was. 0808 802 99 99
  • SurvivorsUK offers advice and support to male victims of rape and sexual assault. Text on 020 3322 1860.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.



By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 19-Aug-2021