Woman in hospital after drink 'spiked' at nightclub
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Social media is full of outrage as women share shocking accounts of having their drinks spiked, or even being injected with substances at nightclubs. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) confirmed a “number” of forces across the country are now investigating reports of spiking done with injections.
One horrifying account tells of how a woman woke up in hospital with a small pin prick mark after a night out.
Sarah Buckle, who is studying at the University of Nottingham, said: ” I’ve had too much to drink before and this was completely different,” she said.
“To be in hospital for 10 hours, and to have no recollection of anything for that long, is absolutely crazy.
“I’m confused by why this is going on, it’s terrifying. You can cover your drinks but how are you going to stop someone stabbing you?”
Nottinghamshire Police confirmed it was looking into reports of people being “spiked physically”.
What is spiking?
Drink spiking is the name given to someone slipping a drug into your drink without your knowledge.
The drugs used can vary, but it leaves the person incredibly vulnerable, sometimes even unconscious, and with no memory of the evening.
Horrifying posts on social media allege that people believe they have been drugged on a night out, and the morning after have found pin-prick marks looking as though they’ve been injected with a substance.
A survey by student newspaper The Tab questioned more than 23,000 students and young people and found some 2,600 respondents believed they had been spiked since the start of this academic year.
The same survey found 50 percent of people knew someone who had been spiked.
Although spiking has been known about for years, these recent revelations have exposed the prevalence of the problem, with some referring to it as a “spiking epidemic.”
In response to these horrifying accounts, groups have organised a boycott of nightclubs next week, on October 27, 2021, dubbed the ‘#GirlsNightIn’.
Although women are leading the outcry, it isn’t a woman’s responsibility not to get spiked while on a night out.
Many are asking who the culprits are, and how to deter them from carrying out this serious crime that can leave victims feeling traumatised.
But how can you tell if someone has been spiked?
Signs your drink has been spiked
If your drink has been tampered with, it’s unlikely you will be aware of this, which is one of the reasons spiking makes people so vulnerable.
Spiked drinks rarely taste, smell or look any different to normal.
Symptoms also vary based on the drug someone has chosen to spike you with, the dosage of the drug and your height and weight.
If you’re out with friends, they may notice you seem much more “drunk” in proportion to how much you’ve actually had to drink.
Because the symptoms of spiking could be mistaken for having too much to drink, it isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be.
Having a different reaction to alcohol then you normally might, feeling unwell or unusually tired could be signs of being spiked.
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Common symptoms include:
- Feeling “drunker”
- Loss of balance
- Visual problems
- Lowered inhibitions
What drugs are used to spike people’s drinks?
The most commonly used ‘date rape’ drugs are Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and Rohypnol (or Roofie).
Dr Sameer Sanghvi, Clinical Technology Lead at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor said: “GHB can give you a sense of euphoria, reduce your inhibitions and also cause sleepiness, whereas Rohypnol is a sedative drug that is often used to treat insomnia and anxiety.
“Rohypnol works by increasing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain which can strongly affect a person’s rational thought process and short-term memory.”
However, other recreational drugs including ketamine, LSD or ecstasy are sometimes also used.
Social media posts from the last fortnight have seen claims of injection spikings from across the UK including in Nottingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Dundee and Liverpool.
Spiking via injections is not only dangerous because of the drug used, but if a needle is being reused, there’s a risk you could contract a disease such as HIV or hepatitis which are known to be spread via dirty needles.
What to do if you think you or your friend has been spiked
If you believe you or someone else has been spiked at a nightclub or bar, you should tell a bar manager, bouncer or member of staff immediately.
Stay with the person who has been spiked and keep talking to them, don’t allow someone who may have been spiked to go home by themselves or to leave the venue with someone they don’t know or trust.
You should stop drinking immediately if you think you’ve been spiked, as the mix of drugs and alcohol could be dangerous.
You should be prepared to call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates. At A&E you should tell the medical staff that you suspect the victim has been spiked, so they can conduct urine and blood tests to determine which drugs are in their system.
Is spiking a crime?
Spiking is a serious crime and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
However, if after being spiked a victim has been sexually assaulted or robbed, the sentence will be higher.
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