Imagine you’ve finally saved enough to take that trip abroad that you always wanted to. You’re excited and everything is going according to plan. However, this blissful moment is quickly turned into a nightmare after a night out and a suspected drugging. This has been the reality for many tourists and people living abroad. When you’re out and about, you’re usually oblivious to all the dangerous people and situations around you.
The truth is there’s always someone dangerous lurking in the shadows looking for their next victim. Therefore, it’s important to be aware not only of your surrounding but also of the many ways that someone can harm you. One of the latest methods that people are using to sedate their victims is called needle spiking.
What is it
Needle spiking is a method of drugging people using an injection filled with sedative drugs. It’s most common in European countries such as the UK, Ireland and Spain but as the trend continues to gain recognition, it’s can hit closer home. The effects are similar to those of date rape drugs. However, this method is not only used in sexual assault cases but also in robberies.
Unlike drink spiking, needle spiking is fast and in most cases, the victim doesn’t suspect that they have been drugged until it’s too late. Since it’s usually done in crowded places like clubs and festivals, the victim might not even feel the needle prick or may brush it off as nothing. It takes approximately 5 minutes for the drugs to take effect and the victim suddenly collapses. However, there are signs you can look out for and ways you can keep safe in case you suspect that you have been a victim of needle spiking.
Knowing the signs of needle spiking can help you take action before it’s too late. Additionally, it can help medical professionals to give you proper care. Since it’s still a new phenomenon in most parts of the world, some medical professionals might not be convinced that you have been drugged.
Just like drink spiking, you will experience feeling “drunker” than usual and lowered inhibitions. However, medical professionals also recognize that it can be difficult to identify signs of needle spiking when you’re intoxicated.
According to Dr Isabella Kent, it may be difficult to decipher whether their symptoms are alcohol-related or not. These are some of the other distinct signs to look out for:
- Loss of balance
- Visual impairment
- Impaired judgment
- Injection bruise
- Slow reaction time
- Stomach disturbance
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty in breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- Severe hangover
What To Do
In case you suspect that you have been a victim of needle spiking, it’s necessary to act fast. As mentioned, this drugging takes about 5 minutes to knock you out so the faster you act, the better. However, you shouldn’t panic, if you have been drugged, here are some things you can do:
- Go somewhere safe. If you’re alone in a club or at a festival, look for a security guard or ask to see the manager. In many cases, these people will be able to get you somewhere safe and administer first aid.
- Alert your friend. If you’re out with someone you know or trust, let them know how you feel. This will prompt them to keep a close eye on you and prevent a stranger from taking you out of the location.
- Call someone. Calling someone and letting them know where you are could potentially save your life. Make sure that you first alert a person in charge of the venue before calling a friend in case you pass out your friend gets to you.
- Go to the hospital as soon as possible. Whatever you do, don’t sleep it off. Immediately you gain consciousness, you should seek medical assistance. This is not only important for future investigations but also for your health. The drugs used in needle spiking are pretty strong; in some cases, people have died.
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