Students in UK universities are under attack by the rise of spiking issues.

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Between 2015 and 2019, there were at least 2600 reports of drink spiking in England and Wales alone; with 72% of these victims being female. It’s commonplace for women to take their drinks with them to the bathroom to avoid being spiked by a pill, something they shouldn’t have to do, but what are women expected to do to avoid being injected? When will people instead recognise it’s not the victims who have to prevent assault, but the perpetrators who need to be held accountable?

 

Police have begun making inquiries after several women have claimed to have been spiked by injections in Edinburgh nightclubs. An Instagram account, (@edi_anonymous), that shares student’s anonymous testimonies of sexual abuse have made reports of women being injected, with those claiming to be affected saying they woke up with a small red bump on their back and felt similar symptoms to being spiked by a pill. One of the victims claims she began to feel unwell around 2am and was found passed out at the bottom of the stairs in her flat by a housemate. Her testimony went on to say, “I have reported this to the police and have been to the hospital where I was given a vaccine for hepatitis B and had blood tests taken, which I would recommend anyone who thinks they have experiences this to do the same.” Spiking in any form is a criminal offence. It is important that victims report it to the police as soon as possible, so that any substances can be detected.

 

Reports from students in Edinburgh, Nottingham and Liverpool, women are scared to go out clubbing as police investigate the spiking reports. In response to the horrific rise in spiking, a group of students in Edinburgh launched ‘Girls Night In’, (@girlsnightinedinburgh), a planned boycott of local nightclubs. You can find the updated list of ‘Girls Nights In’ for each area in the UK on (@notonmycampusuk)’s Instagram post. ‘Girls Night In’ Bournemouth is on the 27th of October. Another Instagram account, (@the.last.taboo), has created a consultation to collect the experiences of students across the UK. They want to know student’s experience of spiking, reporting, and accessing support for spiking. On their website the consultations have been designed to give a safe space for people to anonymously share their experiences of being spiked. The first 100 entries are in and here’s what they have gathered so far. 41 different universities have entered, 89% of the time, people were spiked on off campus venues and the gender statistics are 89.4% female, 6.7% non-binary, 2.9% male and 1% trans-male. Over 60% said their incidents took place in 2021. If you have been affected by spiking or any other form of assault you can find support services on their website here.

 

There are too many cases of weapons and ‘date rape’ drugs being used in clubs. It begs the question, why aren’t nightclubs required to do more to prevent harmful items making into their clubs? A petition to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry to prevent harmful weapons and other items entering have reached over 160,000 signatures. Here’s the link to sign the petition.

 

If you think you have been spiked call 111 immediately to seek medical help and make sure to follow up by visiting your GP.

 

Here’s how to recognise if a drink has been spiked or tampered with:

  • Foggy appearance
  • Excessive bubbles
  • Sinking ice
  • Change in colour

 

How to help a friend who you think has been 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 go home on their own
  • Don’t let them leave the venue with someone you don’t know or trust
  • Try and prevent them drinking more alcohol

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