Spiked Drinks a Growing Problem in Australia

Australia is seeing more incidents where alcoholic drinks are being spiked with so-called “date rape” drugs, Reuters reported June 7.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, an estimated 4,500 people in Australia had their drinks spiked in 2003, with about 40 percent of them sexually assaulted. Women were the most common victims.

“This is the first national study on drink spiking and first figures, but anecdotal evidence points to a rise in incidence,” said institute spokeswoman Leanne Huddy.

Fueling the problem, said the Australian Federal Police (AFP), is the greater availability of prescription and illegal drugs.

To address the problem, the government is running television, print, and poster campaigns to make people aware of drink-spiking and the penalties connected to it.

Currently, offenders can receive up to 25 years in jail for using drugs to commit rape, and up to two years for administering or supplying a prohibited or controlled substance. Authorities in the state of Victoria are considering making drink-spiking a more serious crime.