Drink safely

We all love a party, but during the festive season make sure you look after yourself while drinking.

In December 2021, 4,136 incidents the London Ambulance Service attended were alcohol related.

Look after your friends and colleagues this year and stick to safer drinking levels:

  • Make sure you eat before you go out. Eating can help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
  • Let a trusted person know your plans beforehand.
  • Try pacing and spacing: plan a strategic soft drink or some water between alcoholic drinks.
  • Before you go out, think about where the nearest public transport is to your party and check the time of your last train. Don't leave it to chance and walk home alone.
  • Look after friends or colleagues who've drunk too much.

Spiking - what are the symptoms, and what should you do if you think you or a friend has been spiked?

Drink spiking is a serious crime and has a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Drink spiking symptoms may include:

  • feeling drunk, woozy or drowsy despite not drinking, or not drinking that much
  • feeling "out of it" or drunker than expected
  • mental confusion
  • speech difficulties (such as slurring)
  • memory loss
  • loss of inhibitions
  • nausea and vomiting
  • breathing problems
  • muscle spasms or seizures
  • loss of consciousness
  • an unusually long hangover
  • a severe hangover when you had little or no alcohol to drink

How you can stay safe

  • When going to a pub, club or party avoid going alone, stick together with friends.
  • Always buy your own drink and watch it being poured - don't accept drinks from strangers.
  • Never leave your drink unattended, even if just for a few seconds.
  • Don't drink or taste anyone else's drink.
  • Throw your drink away if you think it tastes strange or different.
If you suspect you or someone else has been spiked
  • Alert the venue staff and a trusted person.
  • If you think you may have been spiked, ask a close friend to leave with you and take you home or to a hospital (if seriously unwell).
  • Call an ambulance if your/ their condition deteriorates in any way.
  • If you feel unsafe, "Ask for Angela" at the bar. This is a coded phrase to show trained bar staff that you are in danger.
  • Don't go anywhere with a stranger or someone you don't know very well.
  • Tell the police what has happened as soon as you can. Call 999 or 101.
In an emergency, always call 999.

Street-based harassment - what to do

In an emergency always call the police on 999.

  • Try not to engage with strangers asking for your details on the street - do not give out your real name, address or mobile number to anyone you do not know. If you can, just ignore the person and walk away.
  • If you are being followed, try to go into a shop, business or station and ask staff for help. When you are able to you can then call Police on 999 if the perpetrator is still with you, or 101 if they have now left.
  • You could consider carrying a personal safety alarm so you can attract attention if you need help. You can get these from the Council by emailing Community-Safety@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
  • If you are a victim of street harassment, please report to Police as soon as you feel able to, you can do this online from a place you feel safe.
  • If the incident happens on public transport you can contact the British Transport police by calling or texting 61016.
  • You can also report anti-social behaviour in parks and on the streets to the Council's team by emailing Community-Safety@royalgreenwich.gov.uk