Women’s safety should never have to be debated but after the shocking murder of Sarah Everard by a Metropolitan police officer, something has to change. Women’s safety is still seemingly not a priority, not in the news enough as it should be and this leads on to how the new epidemic in the UK is a recent form of drink spiking.
With many students now attending universities in a multitude of cities, nightlife has boomed. Taken from the Night Time Industries Association, our nightlife is the UK’s fifth biggest industry and annually brings in £66 billion to the economy. And with universities in Newcastle, Glasgow, and Liverpool famous for their student bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, it’s easy to see why people visit and even live there. When you can forget your week’s downs by singing at the top of your lungs, being the last to leave the dancefloor, and tucking into a takeaway on the way home. It’s a distraction from your every day and who wouldn’t want that?
However, It’s easy to become blind to the unfortunate dangers that appear rife in nightclubs – the attention from unwanted strangers, harassment, spiking, and assaults that occur. But in contrast, ‘spiking with injection’ is on the rise and no one seems to be talking about it. Usually, perpetrators spike drinks to enable them to rob, assault, or even sexual assault. Multiple reports of spiking made their way onto social media and shockingly they included a harmful injection. Many women reported the same symptoms of being spiked such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, and fainting but others were attacked by needles. Many of those who were spiked attended A & E and received jabs to prevent Hepititus B (an infection of the liver spread by blood and body fluids) and HIV (an immunodeficiency virus spread through sexual contact, and dirty needles). The injections are due to the fact many needles are used to inject multiple victims thereby causing the development of these. Many girls had to take PEP over the course of multiple weeks to prevent getting HIV from spiking and take a test after the fifth or sixth week after being injected by the stranger.
It’s important to note that this is most likely on the increase after women started to take more precautions but it’s not enough. The Girls Night In Campaign aims to hold nightclubs more responsible and put pressure on them to provide more support. Pressure is being exerted by boycotts all over the UK in cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff, and Lincoln. Those involved in the boycotts promise to stay in on Wednesday 27th October and won’t visit nightclubs – halting money for clubs that hopefully lead to them supporting the aims. The campaign also started a petition to pressure nightclubs into making it a legal requirement for bouncers to search guests on entry stopping those from even entering a nightclub with illegal substances to spike. Aims include those such as staff training on prevention/aid to victims of spiking, CCTV at the bar, better directions on where to receive help, lids on all drinks, stoppers for bottles, and greater repercussions for perpetrators that spike. Those that are convicted of spiking can be charged with up to 10 years
Even though you might not have been spiked, there are ways in which you can help others or if you ever need yourself. Taken from the NHS website, if you get spiked by injection, the first step is to sterilise the wound with soap and rinse, seek the nearest anti-HIV medication within 24 hours and take this over 4 weeks. Always make sure you’re with friends going out to the clubs and coming home, seek taxis or transport and look after those around you. This shouldn’t stop us from enjoying nights out but something needs to change and we shouldn’t be tackling this crisis alone.
Article by a Young Reporter.
First published in Grimsby Telegraph 9th November 2021