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Hotels Target prevention As Assault Figures Rise

Adelaide watering holes are collecting unattended drinks and encouraging buddy systems to combat drink spiking.
The precautions come as Royal Adelaide Hospital figures show at least three people a week are presenting with suspected drink spiking this year.
RAH research fellow Dr David Caldicott, who is studying the phenomenon, said testing showed that spiking drinks with alcohol itself was far more prevalent than illicit drugs.
Of the 170 people treated in the past three years, only four alleging drink spiking tested positive for GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate or fantasy).
"With the majority of people, our research is showing the chances are their drink is spiked with more alcohol than they suspected," he said. "Instead of a single shot, they are being purchased a double or a triple when they don't want it -it definitely occurs.
"These are usually very sensible people, not hysterical girls, who know how much they can handle and are convinced it wouldn't normally have that effect."
The Australian Hotels Association says while it did not believe drink spiking was widespread, a range of preventative measures were being promoted among member venues.
Public affairs manager Hamish Arthur said a number of hotels were encouraging bar staff to collect all unattended drinks and promote a system where patrons paired up and watched each other's drinks.
The Talbot Hotel in Gouger St said while spiking was not an issue, staff were told to clear unattended drinks.
"we just make sure any unattended drink is picked up, and if somebody comes back to pick it up, we are happy to replace it," bar manager Melanie Rothe said. "If we explain to them the reason, they are quite willing to understand and embrace it."
Savvy nightclub, in Light Square, has erected posters encouraging people to watch Mends' drinks and report any suspicious behaviour.
An Australian Institute of Criminology study found 1400 Australians a year were sexually assaulted after having their drink spiked.
Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Centre said there had been a rise in reports of sexual assaults after suspected spiking. But director Vanessa Swan was unsure if it was just because more people were aware of the issue.

Sunday Mail 10-10-2004
Elissa Doherty


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