In the past few weeks, reports of needle attacks in UK pubs have multiplied, leading to three arrests in recent days.

Authorities believe that the substances used in these attacks are similar to the so-called ‘rape drug’, which is sneaked into the victim’s drink to commit sexual assault without the victim remembering anything the next day. Although with a similar narcotic effect, this new system uses an injection that leaves a mark after application.

The symptoms reported by the victims are not exactly the same in all cases: some speak of dizziness, loss of consciousness and vomiting, while others have had a normal performance throughout the night. What is common to all of them is the lack of memory after a certain moment and the injection mark in some part of the body.

When did the seizures start?

It is not clear when these syringe attacks began, as there have been reports of such attacks over the last few months, since the end of confinement and the reactivation of nightlife. However, these attacks have multiplied in recent weeks, with young people who have chosen to share their cases through social networks and even show the marks left by the needle.

This new method joins the one used so far of pouring the drug into the victim’s drink to override her will, already reported by many women in recent months in the UK.

Where did the attacks take place?

To date, UK Police have 56 reports related to syringe attacks that occurred between September and October and 198 linked to drugs sneaked into drink. Most of the people attacked with these methods, but there are also some men among the assaulted.

In the English county of Nottinghamshire alone, the police have received at least 15 complaints, the first of them on October 2, according to the BBC. Faced with this increase in attacks, the authorities are considering deploying more officers in the center of the capital.

However, these attacks are not limited to England, but have spread to Scotland, where authorities are investigating in Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Stirling.

Response from the authorities

British Home Secretary Priti Patel sounded the alarm last week following an increase in cases of women drugged with syringes in the nightlife scene. She did so after Nottingham Police arrested a 20-year-old man as part of an investigation into needle attacks in bars in the city.

In recent days, Brighton Police have arrested three men, aged 18, 19 and 28 respectively, on suspicion of administering drugs to several people against their will. The first of them is being held by officers, while the other two have been released, reports the BBC.

At a recent parliamentary hearing, Home Affairs Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper called for police to review reports of drugging attempts and produce a comprehensive nationwide assessment to better understand what is happening. “There is not a proactive assessment going on as to what the scale of the problem is,” she said. He added: “It is still seen as the victim’s responsibility to protect themselves.”

Popular reaction

For their part, young British women have mobilized to sabotage nightclubs in the face of this wave of assaults. On a war footing, groups from more than 50 universities in the United Kingdom have launched an Internet campaign through a collective called ‘Girls Night In’: they propose boycotts from October 25 to November 3 in more than 30 cities and share stories of those affected through social networks to raise awareness of what happened.

To show solidarity with this complaint, which argues that women deserve to have a good time when they go out, several bars and nightclubs in the UK closed last Wednesday.

In addition, Mair Howells, a young woman whose drink was spiked in February 2020, has launched a campaign on to urge the Government to force owners and workers of hospitality venues to take greater precautions on their premises. The collection of signatures, which has already exceeded 60,000, also seeks that the Executive increases training in this regard in schools.


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