Students to boycott clubs after reports of women drugged with needles

·3-min read
A student-led group is calling for a boycott of nightclubs in university towns and cities across the UK  (AFP via Getty Images)
A student-led group is calling for a boycott of nightclubs in university towns and cities across the UK (AFP via Getty Images)

A student-led campaign group is calling for a nationwide boycott of nightclubs following reports that young women are being drugged with needles on nights out.

Nottinghamshire police said it was looking into multiple reports of people being “spiked physically”.

A 20-year-old man was arrested after a woman reported “a scratching sensation” and suspected her drink had been spiked at a club in Nottingham city centre on Saturday. He has since been released on bail.

A 19-year-old university student recounted a “terrifying” experience of waking up with “zero recollection” of her night out at Pryzm nightclub with friends on October 10.

She entered the club and made her way to the bar - but that is the last thing she can remember before waking up in her bed the next day.

The student said she had no hangover but noticed a pinprick mark on her leg and reported a “sharp, agonising pain” which meant she could not walk without limping.

She went to hospital and is now urging other women to be aware when on a night out, saying that losing her memory was “terrifying to look back on”.

In a separate incident, days earlier, another 19-year-old woman reported feeling a “pinch on the back of her arm” as she left Stealth nightclub.

Her sister said she later blacked out and was taken to A&E where she was put on drip and underwent blood tests.

Nottinghamshire Police Supt Kathryn Craner said: “We are currently investigating reports of individuals suspecting that their drinks have been spiked.

“Linked to this a small number of victims have said that they may have felt a scratching sensation as if someone may have spiked them physically.

“We do not believe that these are targeted incidents.

“They are distinctly different from anything we have seen previously as victims have disclosed a physical scratch type sensation before feeling very unwell.

“This is subtly different from feelings of intoxication through alcohol according to some victims.”

The collective ‘Girls Night In’ has planned a week of boycotts of local bars and nightclubs across university towns and cities to get venues to do more to prevent spiking.

In Nottingham, where reports of spiking have been prevalent, Girls Night In are calling for a boycott of all clubs in the city on Wednesday October 27 “to ensure the issue of spiking is taken seriously”.

Other similar boycotts have been planned for university towns and cities such as Bristol, Exeter, Durham, Loughborough, Newcastle, Oxford, Reading, Swansea and Warwick.

It says measures such as providing lids for drinks, and first aid and drug misuse training for staff will make women feel safer on nights out

Nadia Whittome, the MP for Nottingham East, said she was horrified, describing the reports of needle attacks as “especially distressing given the added risks of infection and injury”.

Following reports Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked forces for an update after some said they had seen more spiking incidents in recent months.

In a statement, Stealth said it had received two reports in the past two weeks from customers who suspected they had been spiked.

A spokesperson for the club said: “Both were seen by our on-site medic, and we are currently liaising with police to aid in their investigations.”

The club added that it was “unacceptable for women to have to live in fear of being spiked”.

A Pryzm spokesperson said they planned to make anti-spiking bottle stoppers, protective drink covers and drug-testing kits freely available and will redouble searches on entry.

They added: “While these incidents are incredibly rare, we take all reports of this nature very seriously and will do all we can to make sure that they don’t happen in our clubs.”

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