In an effort to encourage venues to do more for women’s safety, a campaign organized a boycott at nightclubs and bars in the UK.
The Girls Night In movement will see a number of cities host boycotts over the next two week, with at most six taking place tonight.
It comes after the National Police Chiefs’ Council confirmed there had been 198 reports of spiking in September and October across various parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with 24 reports of some form of injection.
Yesterday it was reported that detectives are investigating claims that seven women were injected while out in Brighton last week. A man was also arrested on suspicion of administering a noxious chemical.
The campaign will be spread to 43 universities and cities in the next fortnight. An online petition calling for more safety measures has already been signed over 168,000 times.
Boycotts will be held in at least 40 cities tonight, including Bristol, Brighton and Bournemouth as well as Belfast, Nottingham, Southampton, and Nottingham tonight. More events are planned for later this week.
The students union bar in Lancaster, and Pryzm in Nottingham have both confirmed that they will close the evening in solidarity to the movement.
Seven women have claimed that they were injected at nightclubs in two Sussex towns in seven days. Six revellers said they were injected in Brighton city center, with another woman claiming she was spiked in Eastbourne.
Initial reports from police that women felt unwell after a night out in Brighton on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning led to four additional police officers being contacted. Another Eastbourne woman said she had been inject after a Saturday night in the town.
According to Brighton’s police chief, the reports are being taken incredibly seriously’. He also asked that any victims of spiking inform police and bar staff immediately.
A spokesperson for Sussex Police stated that night-time patrols were being increased and that each incident was being ‘thoroughly examined’ along with the entire series.
Chief Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw, divisional Commander for Brighton and Hove, stated that everyone has the right to go out and have a good time. We also fully understand the concerns about these troubling reports not only in Sussex, but all over the country.
Unannounced licensing checks are offered throughout the night to provide additional support. If you see officers out and about, please speak with them (or licensed security staff) about any concerns or suspicious behavior.
“Please be assured we take all reports seriously and ask anyone who believes they might have been a victim or spiking, to let police and bar staff know as soon possible so that they can be tested before potential drug residues leave their system and evidence can collected.”
A woman who reported that she was infected with an unknown substance at Preston weekend is the subject of an investigation. Police were also called out to investigate an incident in Preston on Saturday in which two women reported that their drinks had been spiked. Lancashire Constabary said.
Georgia Latham (pictured), 21 went to Pryzm nightclub on Friday with a friend after she finished her work as a Stag Do hostess from Cardiff.
Ms. Latham claimed that her October 22nd night was ‘terrifying’ because her legs stopped functioning. After leaving Pryzm, she and her friend went to nearby Live Lounge. She began to feel sick.
Have you ever been injected with spiking needles?
Students plan to boycott nightclubs as part a nationwide protest, with more than 30 universities participating in the campaign. This is to demand that venues increase safety measures.
More than 168,000 people signed a petition calling for nightclubs to thoroughly search their customers upon arrival after reports of needle-spiking in Nottingham.
A petition calling for the government to fund free drink-spiking test kits that give an immediate result, has 12,000 signatures.
To raise awareness of the attacks, and to encourage venues to improve security, those who take part in the boycott will stay home on a designated evening.
In solidarity with the movement, venues have pledged closures in Lancaster and Nottingham.
Lancaster University’s student union runs the Sugarhouse. It said that it will use the closure as a training ground for staff on how to deal with suspected spikes.
Pryzm, a Nottingham nightclub, has announced that it will close its doors tonight in solidarity with the nightlife boycott.
Two more students claim they have lost the use of their legs due to being spiked at nightclubs.
Georgia Latham (21), went to Pryzm nightclub on Friday with a friend after she finished her job as a Stag Do hostess from Cardiff. A student aged 18 from Liverpool claimed she was given an injection in her back while queuing at Baa Bar on Fleet Street.
Victims often become violently ill when out and only realize they have been injected after they find ‘pin-prick’ marks on the bodies.
Ms. Latham stated that her October 22 night took a ‘terrifying turn’ when her legs stopped working.
After leaving Pryzm, she and her friend went to nearby Live Lounge. She felt unwell.
They managed to tell a bouncer that Ms Latham was spiked. They were then taken to a medical facility where the third-year student at Cardiff University lost her ability to communicate.
“I sat there and it was with me in terms of processing and hearing what people were saying, but I couldn’t respond, so I was just crying because my words didn’t seem to be getting through or how I felt,” she said.
Ms Latham was checked over by a medic friend before she was advised to visit A&E.
A Liverpool student aged 18 claimed she was given an injection in the back while waiting at Baa Bar (pictured) on Fleet Street.
She said, ‘I don’t remember getting to the hospital. The only thing I can remember about arriving was Nisha telling the person at my door, “This is spiking.”
“We didn’t even know where to go, and one of our actual hospital staff said “Was it Pryzm?” They knew the exact location before we mentioned it, and they said “yeah, you’re not our last tonight.”
Ms. Latham received anti-sickness pills after being kept in the hospital for several hours.
Although staff didn’t perform a toxicology, they suggested that her symptoms were most likely due to Rohypnol. Pryzm spokesmen said that everyone should feel safe when they go out on a night. They should also feel safe in our club.
They stated that they take drink spiking reports very seriously and will offer anti-spiking bottles stoppers, protective drink covers, and drug testing kits for free.
A club spokesperson stated that the club conducts 100 percent searches upon entry.
The unnamed woman in Liverpool felt suddenly unwell while she waited in line for Baa Bar shortly after midnight, October 19.
The first year University of Liverpool student, who was standing to the side to be ill, said that she had lost all use of her legs as she left the queue.
Her friend carried her part of the way home before they got in a taxi. It wasn’t until the next day that she realized what had happened.
The woman said that she was suddenly sick after we waited outside. I threw up and moved to the side.
“My friend said that I was flopping, and I couldn’t use my legs. I couldn’t speak.
‘I can recall throwing up, and I can also remember my friend lifting and carrying me home. The next day, I felt something strange in my back and called my flatmate.
On a photograph, you can see a red mark on the woman’s skin. This is likely where she was injecting.
She stated that it was extremely scary and she was crying on the phone to her mother.
The 18-year-old called her doctor that morning and was told to go straight to A&E.
Since then, she has been referred to the Royal Liverpool Hospital for blood tests including screening for HIV and syphilis.
Merseyside police said that an investigation is under way and that CCTV, witness and medical inquiries are currently being done.
Baa Bar spokesperson stated that they were aware of the incident, and have provided footage to the police for their investigation.
The woman claimed that before she went out, she had shared a vodka bottle with her friend and had had the exact same amount of drinks.
The woman stated that she had never been to the city centre at night, and that her back was exposed by the outfit she was wearing.
The woman said, “It was so crowded.” [in the queue]We were talking to everyone – people in the front and those behind.
“I must have been injected. I can’t imagine how I could have acted like that without being spiked. I have never felt anything like this before. I couldn’t move my legs. I was flopping on my back, my head was flopping.
“I wanted to close my eyes and go black, but my friends wouldn’t let me.”
Merseyside Police stated it was investigating, and CCTV, witness and medical inquiries are ‘in the process of being done’.
Baa Bar spokeswoman said that the woman had contacted them following the incident. The club was taking the “increased threat” of people being injected in the city ‘extremely seriously’.
Ilana El-baz, 20, shared that she was semi-paralysed after returning from a Bristol nightclub. She shared a recording of her struggling to climb the stairs and her eyes rolling as she falls into the railings.
Pictured: KirstyHowells, 25, shared this picture from her hospital room after she was spiked in Swansea that evening.
Nearly 200 incidents of drink spiking have been reported in the past two-months
Over the past two-months, nearly 200 incidents of drink spiking have been reported to police forces in the UK.
According to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), there have been 198 confirmed cases of drink spiking in September, October, across different parts of England, Scotland and Wales. Additionally, there have been 24 reports about some form of injection.
Friday afternoon, there were 140 confirmed reports of drink spiking. However, this number was revised after more data were received.
It stated that the number was both male and female, although most cases involved young women.
Allegations of criminal activity have been committed in licensed premises and private parties.
The 198 figure is based data from 40 police forces. The NPCC indicated that it is still waiting to receive data from five of these forces. It expects to receive the data over the weekend.
London: 58 reports on drink spiking
According to the NPCC, 58 of the 198 reports about drink spiking were reported to the Metropolitan Police.
Jason Harwin, Deputy Chief Constable of the NPCC, stated that these reports were very concerning.
“We are working at a pace with forces, law enforcement agency such the NCA and other partners including universities to understand and establish the scale of the offending and any links between them and bring any identified offenders in justice to justice.”
Nottingham: 32 reports of spiked drinks and 15 of spiking involving needles in recent weeks
Three men were arrested on suspicion that they conspired to administer poison in connection to a series of reported Nottingham drink-spiking incidents.
Nottinghamshire Police reported that the men aged 18 and 19 were arrested after receiving information about them from a member. The information was received on Wednesday from a member, following a general appeal from a senior officer.
According to the force, both were taken into custody on suspicion of conspiring to administer poison with intent injure, annoy, or aggrieve.
The arrests are not related to any specific allegation regarding spiking by needles or contamination of drinks.
According to the force, both men were released as a result of an investigation.
Nottinghamshire Police stated that it will send more officers to ensure that people have a safe night out.
A 20-year old man was also arrested for drug offences and causing, administering, or enabling a poisonous substance. This is in response to three reports that two nightclubs had witnessed women inject themselves at the clubs.
Police Scotland: Nine reports from Scotland of spikings. Eight were by injection.
A spokesperson for Police Scotland said that they were aware of posts on social media regarding spiking incidents involving injectables in Scotland.
‘Officers are making inquiries and some reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow areas are being investigated.
“These do not appear linked.”
“We take all reports seriously. We encourage anyone who believes they were a victim to spiking in any way to contact Police via 101.
Police West Midlands One report of a woman being ‘spiked by injection’
A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: ‘We’re aware of posts circulating on social media about drink spiking, particularly those involving injections.
‘At present we’ve had one report where the circumstances appear to match the description of someone being spiked by injection. However, it’s unclear exactly what’s happened and we’re in the process of trying to speak to the woman to gather more information.
‘A separate drink spiking incident involving a Birmingham-based university student is under investigation, and we’ve had a small number of reports from Birmingham city centre over the last few months.’
Merseyside Police: Number of spiking incidents, five of which specifically relate to injection spiking
Detectives said that out of the five reports, three currently remain under investigation, including the incident onOctober 19.
Superintendent Diane Pownall said: ‘Liverpool is awarded Purple Flag status every year and is one of the safest cities in the UK. We know that people travel from far and wide to enjoy what is on offer here and we want that to continue.
‘In April we launched our proactive policing response, Operation Empower, where dedicated officers are tasked with identifying potential perpetrators who are displaying signs of predatory behaviour and to disrupt those who present a potential risk.
‘Officers are also asked to be aware of anyone who may be vulnerable to ensure any immediate safeguarding concerns are met.’
South Wales Police: ‘A small number’ of reports
After Georgia Latham reported her drink was spiked a spokesman for South Wales Police said: ‘We have received a small number of reports from people who believe this might have happened to them and these are currently under investigation.
‘Our officers are working with licensed premises to alert them to spiking methods and asking them to be extra vigilant at this time.
‘We take all reports seriously and encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of spiking in any form to contact us.’
They added: ‘Baa Bar was one of the first bars to adapt a no search no entry policy to give our guests reassurance and this has been received extremely positively.
‘We have a welfare manager deployed on every shift whose prime focus is to support any guests in need and to observe and watch for any unusual activity along with our door team.’
They said the team have been trained to spot ‘vulnerable guests and suspicious activity’, adding: ‘We have met with the police and are working alongside them and other venues in the city to come up with a plan to try and deter any potential culprits, and what the process is if we find any potential culprits in our premises.
‘The fact that these alleged spikings seem to be targeted at the student population is a grave concern and we welcome working with universities in educating and supporting their students.’
They said the queue was ‘particularly long’ on the evening of the spiking, and the ‘alleged incident happened a fair way down the street’ but CCTV had been provided to police.
In a statement on Friday, Merseyside Police said they are aware of a number of spiking incidents in town, five of which specifically relate to injection spiking.
Detectives stated that three of the five reports are still under investigation, including the October 19 incident.
Superintendent Diane Pownall stated: “Liverpool has been awarded the Purple Flag status every single year and is one the safest places in the UK. We know that people travel long distances to enjoy the offerings here and we want this to continue.
Operation Empower is a proactive policing initiative that was launched in April. It consists of dedicated officers who are tasked with identifying predatory behaviour by potential perpetrators and disrupting those who pose a threat.
‘Officers are also asked to be aware of anyone who may be vulnerable to ensure any immediate safeguarding concerns are met.
‘Every week we also have an additional number of uniformed officers on the streets of the city and I would encourage anyone with any concerns to approach our patrols and speak to them.’
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: ‘We have received a small number of reports from people who believe this might have happened to them and these are currently under investigation.
“Our officers are working with licensed premises in order to alert them to spiking techniques and ask them to be extra vigilant.
“We take all reports seriously, and encourage anyone who feels they have been a victim to spiking in any way to contact us.”
According to The Alcohol Education Trust’s snap poll, new figures show that 15% of females, 71% of males, and 17% of those identifying themselves as other have had their drinks spiked.
The survey, which was open for a week from October 12 and had 747 responses, asked: ‘Do you think you have ever had one of your drinks spiked?’, with 94 replying yes and a further 26 saying ‘maybe’.
According to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information Rohypnol and GHB are two of the most prominent ‘date rape’ drugs used by criminals.
According to the NCBI with GHB, as little as 2g (which is often a powder that can mixed in an alcoholic beverage) can cause deep sleep within minutes.
The drug has a half-life of 27 minutes. It is almost impossible to detect after 96 hour.
Experts warn Rohypnol can also be used as a powerful sedative, with legitimate uses such as a pre-anaesthetic and a sleeping pill.
It can be used as a rape drug for dates. It can affect a victim in ten minutes, and peak eight hours later.
It is tasteless, colourless, and odourless. It causes sedation or euphoria in 20-30 minutes.
Many women have shared their experiences with being spiked. Ilana El-baz (20) recalled how she was left semi-paralysed’ while climbing a staircase three weeks ago after returning from a Bristol club.
Yesterday, two teenagers aged 18 and 19 were arrested in Nottingham ‘on suspicions of conspiracy to administer poison’. Last night, a 35-year old man was arrested in Lincoln on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to distribute them.
This follows a KirstyHowells, 25, being seen unconscious in a hospital after she was ‘injected with Ketamine’. It is one of a number of women who have reported being’spiked by injections in nightclubs.
Miss Howells posted this photo taken in hospital after a night in Swansea.
It was shared on Facebook by her aunt, who said Ms Howells is thought to have been ‘injected with ketamine’, before being rushed to A&E by her boyfriend.
Chief Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw, Divisional Commander for Brighton, said officers are speaking to two victims who felt unwell after a night out in the city on Tuesday night, October 19, and the early hours of Wednesday morning, October 20
He said, “They suspect they were injected.” They are being supported and assisted by officers.
“We are still at an early stage of our investigation and many inquiries are being made.
“We take all reports seriously and encourage anyone who suspects they may have been a victim of spiking to contact our office. We encourage everyone to report any suspicious behaviour online, via 101 or by calling 999 in an urgent situation.
- Have you been injected with spiking or have you witnessed it? We would like to hear your story: Contact email@example.com
What do experts think about injection spiking reports?
Is it possible to do this?
Yes, indeed. There are credible reports of people waking up with needle marks from having been spiked.
One medical consultant said that the possibility of it becoming a widespread phenomenon is “deeply unlikely”.
VICE News interviewed David Caldicott (an emergency medicine consultant) and founder of WEDINOS’ drug testing project WEDINOS. He said that it would be impossible to do this given the technical and medical knowledge needed.
“It’s hard to stick a needle into someone without them being aware, especially if the needle has to be in there for a long enough time, maybe 20 seconds, in order to inject enough drugs to cause this.
Is it possible to give the injection so fast?
Yes, but thExperts say that discreetly they would need a very powerful drug.
GHB, one of the most popular ‘date rape drugs’, can be self-administered by people in small doses.
Guy Jones, a senior scientist with the Loop, stated that VICE would not recommend it for injection due to the large amount fluid required.
“It would require a thick and painful needle. He explained that the substance involved would have to be highly detectable for several consecutive days in a toxicology screening.
Adam Winstock (Director of the Global Drug Survey) stated that there are not many drugs or medicines that can easily be administered intramuscularly in sufficient quantities that people would not notice the effects.
“What you see on the screen is not what you get in reality.” People should keep their drinks close to their bodies, avoid taking them from strangers, and look out for their friends.
Can drugs be administered to any body part?
Yes, but there are parts that are more effective than others.
VICE spoke to Mr Jones, who said that there are injection sites that don’t work well if drugs can be administered non-intravenously.
“The back is one such unsuitable site due to its low fat content and high concentration of pain receptors.
What about drink spiking
Although injection spiking remains possible, drink spiking has become much more common.
The number of incidents involving drink spiking in the UK has increased by 108 Percent between 2015-2018, with 179 incidents happening in 2017.
These are the only officially recorded numbers. They are likely to be higher because it is common for people to not report it to police.
Charity Drinkaware advises: “Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know, and if they are available, use drink stoppers which can be bought online for the top of your bottles.”
Gamma Hydroxybutyrate and Rohypnol, also known as Roofie, are the most well-known ‘date rape’ drugs.
Sometimes, recreational drugs such as Ecstasy and Lysergic Acid Derthylamide (LSD), Ketamine, and other ‘party-drugs’ are used to spike alcoholic beverages.