Spiking is when someone adds alcohol or drugs to another person’s drink without their knowledge or consent and is a criminal offence.

Spiking by injection is when a needle is used to inject drugs into a person without their knowledge or consent and is also a criminal offence.

The law

Spiking can be prosecuted under the common law offence of drugging, which is a broad offence covering all types of drink spiking. Another common law offence which may be relevant depending on the individual facts and circumstances of each case is assault.

There is also a more specific statutory offence contained in section 11 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 called administering a substance for sexual purposes. This makes it an offence for a person to intentionally administer a substance, or cause a substance to be taken by another person, without the other person knowing, and without any reasonable belief that the other person knows, for a sexual purpose.

We have no plans at this time to create a specific criminal offence of spiking however we keep all laws under review.

Scottish Government Roundtable on Spiking

We take a proactive approach to understand the prevalence and address concerns about reported spiking in Scotland.

Since November 2021, regular ministerial roundtable meetings have taken place with partners from policing, victims organisations and prosecution, as well as representatives from colleges and universities, community safety, and the night-time economy sector.

The roundtable’s objective is to discuss and better understand the structure and prevalence of spiking in Scotland and to ensure that the response is robust and effective. Partners meet regularly to ensure that collective efforts to tackle incidents of spiking remain coordinated and effective; and that we consider what more we could and should be doing as part of our wider policy commitment.

Information is available on Spiking - Safer.scot, to inform and support the public around the subject of spiking.

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