Incidents of young women having their drinks spiked with drugs – especially at open air events or private parties with no CCTV or security staff on hand – appear to be on the rise.
Shocking footage shows the after-effects of one “spiking” incident when 20-year-old student Ilana El-baz was "completely paralysed” after a night out with friends earlier this month.
She can be seen collapsed on the stairs of her home, unable to move or speak properly as her boyfriend can be heard urging her to get up and go to bed.
She’s convicned someone put something in her drink when she wasn’t looking.
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"I basically got spiked at a nightclub in Bristol,” she told the BBC, “and I only knew it happened when I saw the videos of it”.
She thinks the person responsible was a man who asked her to dance. "The moment I told him I was with my boyfriend he left me completely," she recalled.
"An hour later I went back home and it hit … I was completely paralysed”.
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The Alcohol Education Trust has reported an anecdotal rise in spiking occurring in places that don't have CCTV or security staff, and Sergeant Dave Moore from Devon and Cornwall Police adds that house parties are "an easier environment for perpetrators to apply their trade".
"There's no bar staff to pour drinks, someone can go get a drink and pop something in there because there's no CCTV.
"And when someone starts to feel unwell, all the perpetrator has to do is say: 'I know them, I'll take them home.'"
Ilana says she was “lucky” because she had been with a group of friends who looked after her.
She has suggested that club owners do more to prevent incidents like this happening – perhaps supplying disposable lids with drinks to prevent drugs from being slipped into them while the drinker is distracted.
But even that might not be enough, as reports are emerging that some women are being injected with drugs against their will.
Victims say they have woken up with no recollection of the previous night but have found what appear to be “needle-marks” in their leg, hands or back.
"We used to put our hands over our drinks, we all know this trick," said one victim, "but how can we prevent it going into my arms, my legs, the side of my neck?"
As yet these seem to be isolated cases, but there are warnings that victims could contract hepatitis or other infections alongside the obvious danger of being deliberately drugged by a sexual predator.
If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.
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