My drink was spiked on night out, says minister Mims Davies

By Ben Weisz
Political reporter, BBC Radio Sussex

Published

A government minister has told the BBC how her drink was spiked on a night out in 2019 and has called for tougher action to prevent further incidents.

"I found something black in the bottom of my drink. I pulled it out and didn't really think anything of it, and threw it on the floor," says Mims Davies.

"It was only later on I thought, 'Blimey, what was that?'"

The Conservative MP has only a partial memory of a night out in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, having blacked out after her drink was spiked.

"It was absolutely awful," she tells BBC Radio Sussex. "I had to be carried home."

To this day Ms Davies has no idea what the dark substance placed in her glass was, but luckily she got home safely.

The employment minister, who is the MP for Mid Sussex, has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel to ask what more can be done to tackle spiking.

"We should be restricting who on earth can get hold of these products, as we would in any other sphere," she says.

"What on earth is in those products? Who's buying them and who's sourcing them? There's more to this than meets the eye."

The Alcohol Education Trust says hundreds of people a year are thought to be victims of drink-spiking, where alcohol or drugs - such as tranquillisers, amphetamines or GHB, also called liquid ecstasy - are added without their knowledge.

Often this is done as a "prank", the trust says, but many victims have been subject to robbery or sexual assault, it adds.

Drink-spiking is a serious offence and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Image source, Greater Manchester Police
Image caption,
Reynhard Sinaga used the GHB to sexually assault men in his Manchester flat

In March, the government announced that GHB would be upgraded from a class C to a class B drug after what Home Secretary Priti Patel called its "truly sickening" use in high-profile rape cases.

It is yet to table the necessary legislation to make that happen.

GHB was the substance used by post-graduate student Reynhard Sinaga, who was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 2020 for drugging and sexually assaulting 48 men in his flat in Manchester.

Rohypnol is a tranquilizer used to treat sleep disorders but has also been used to spike drinks and is a class C drug.

How to help a friend who you think has had their drink spiked

  • Tell a bar manager, bouncer or member of staff
  • Stay with them and keep talking to them
  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates
  • Don't let them go home on their own
  • Don't let them leave the venue with someone you don't know or trust
  • If possible, try to prevent them drinking more alcohol as this could lead to more serious problems

Sussex Police says that, in the city of Brighton and Hove alone, it has had 67 reports of drinks tampering since 1 October.

On Wednesday, Home Office minister Rachel Maclean told the House of Commons drink-spiking was "a horrific and frightening offence" and the government was planning to "ramp up" its response.

The Home Office tells the BBC it is "dedicating local and national resource" to tackling this "extremely disturbing" crime.

"We remain in close contact with the police on this issue and the home secretary is receiving regular updates," a spokesperson says.

"We must now give the police the space to conduct their enquiries, and we would urge anyone with information on these incidents to contact their local force."

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, help and support can be found at BBC Action Line.

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