Spiked drinks: Big symptoms you need to watch out for

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Barbara Friedman

216 days ago
Spiked drinks: Big symptoms you need to watch out for © Janon Kasemvarnakon / 123rf

On Tuesday Pippa Hudson talked about drink spiking and the Drinkerbell device which can be used to cover drinks and at least reduce the chance of their being tampered with.

The brainchild of a Durban mom and daughter after the daughter had her drink spiked at a restaurant and although luckily received medical assistance in time, has had some lingering after-effects. They wanted to make sure this does not happen to others.

It is a modified scrunchy that you can use to cover the top of your glass drink if you are at a party or in a bar and want to make sure no one can slip anything into your drink.

Pippa Hudson, Presenter - CapeTalk

Although it is not foolproof it is a step that can help, says Pippa.

Dr Darren Green has researched the issue of drink spiking and joins Pippa on the couch on Friday to share more information on this really important subject.

Dr Green has information from the police narcotics division as well as the Tygerberg Toxicology and Poison Unit, and pathology laboratory Pathcare who processes blood tests when spiking is suspected. There is also a toxicology hotline to report incidents.

He says the top substances used to spike drinks are Rohypnol, ketamine, liquid ecstasy, and one that is very difficult to detect called GHB

GHB is a paralyses agent that renders you paralysed for a period of about a half an hour.

Dr Darren Green, Health and Wellness Consultant and Corporate Events Manager for MCSA at CapeTalk

The half-life of GHB is so short it can be difficult to detect afterward.

What are the big symptoms to look out for that you have drunk a spiked drink?

The big thing is a sudden onset of a change in consciousness. So, suddenly feeling that your alert state is affected.

Dr Darren Green, Health and Wellness Consultant and Corporate Events Manager for MCSA at CapeTalk

Nausea is another telling symptom, he notes.

Nausea is your body's way of telling you it does not like what you have just put into your gut.

Dr Darren Green, Health and Wellness Consultant and Corporate Events Manager for MCSA at CapeTalk

When it comes to these things [drink spiking] you have a very acute onset of feeling unwell. Your orientation, vision and awareness can be affected as well as sensory inputs.

Dr Darren Green, Health and Wellness Consultant and Corporate Events Manager for MCSA at CapeTalk

The key is to act quickly once these symptoms occur, he emphasises.

You have a window of opportunity to bring in someone you trust and say I have had one drink and something is wrong...but that is where many of us fail.

Dr Darren Green, Health and Wellness Consultant and Corporate Events Manager for MCSA at CapeTalk

Some drugs stay in one's system longer than others, he explains, and are detectable in both urine and blood for a period of time.

When it comes to Rohypnol, its presence can be demonstrated in the hair follicle for up to 30 days.

Dr Darren Green, Health and Wellness Consultant and Corporate Events Manager for MCSA at CapeTalk

He discusses the importance of people choosing the right test should spiking be suspected. An over-the-counter drug test will be very different in a court of law, for example, then specific lab tests.

He urges people to get to a doctor as soon as possible and do the correct tests.

Tygerberg Poison Information Centre helpline is 021 938 9596

Take a listen to Dr Darren Green in the audio below for more information:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Spiked drinks: Big symptoms you need to watch out for

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