Girls are reporting being spiked by injection – I’m terrified to go clubbing

As someone with health anxiety, my method of escape is now part of my fear

Recently, it seems impossible to open Twitter without seeing horrifying accounts from girls up and down the country who have been spiked by injection. And it’s always the same story. They wake up after a night out with no memory and a red bump somewhere on their body. As a result, I’m absolutely terrified to go out.

‘Drink spiking is rife within clubbing culture’

Although the attacks are not limited to women, they feel very personal. Following the tragic murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, the push for female safety has never been stronger, yet this new trend feels like the latest attack on our safety. Spiking by injection is the newest in a long list of fears that women will be forced to keep in mind whilst clubbing.

Drink spiking is rife within clubbing culture. While many of us are lucky to have friends who would take care of us if we were spiked, the danger arises in the fact that many victims wander off. This is due to the effects of the drugs, which include mental confusion, speech difficulties and vomiting, making victims extremely vulnerable to sexual assault or kidnapping. Some victims have even been hospitalised due to their reaction to the drugs.

‘I couldn’t shake the intrusive thoughts that someone had injected me’

Despite the fact that spiking by drink is dangerous enough, spiking by injection introduces a whole host of other concerns regarding dirty or used needles. Diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV can be spread through the use of dirty needles, with life changing consequences.

I have suffered with health anxiety for many years. I’m used to constantly monitoring how “well” I feel, as well as compulsively checking my body for any signs of illness. Clubbing with my friends is usually a time I can let go and enjoy myself. It’s an escape from the constant intrusive thoughts on my health. It feels so wrong that a night out, something that is used by many as a similar escape is the time when more dangers than ever are presented.

After a recent night out in Leeds, I woke up with a huge bruise on my thigh – something I would typically brush off as a funny drunk story. With the news headlines of spiking by injection fresh in my mind, however, I couldn’t shake the intrusive thoughts that someone had injected me. Despite remembering everything from the night and knowing I hadn’t been spiked, the thoughts persisted and led me to obsessively research the dangers of dirty needles and repeatedly asked for reassurance from those around me, two compulsions that I struggle with.

‘It feels like a waiting game’

Although I study and live in Newcastle, a city where there has not yet been reports of injection spiking, my fear isn’t eased. It feels like a waiting game, a matter of time until some evil person decides to try it in the city.

I’m especially concerned that spiking by injection, currently the more uncommon method, will become just as common as drink spiking, as there is less ways to prevent it happening to you. It has been reported that some people have been injected even through thick clothing such as jeans.

What worries me the most about this is that now the idea has been acted upon, it isn’t ever going to go away. Even if clubs introduce stricter search policies to help eliminate the danger, there’s still a chance that the awful people will find a way to sneak the needles in.

I really hope that something can be done to minimise the danger and that spiking by injection won’t become an increasing fear for me and many others, though currently, I’m staying doubtful and careful.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please head to Drinkaware for more information on drink spiking. You can call Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111 or find help via their website. If you’ve got a story you’d like to share with us, get in touch in confidence by emailing dannyshaw@thetab.com

Related articles recommended by this writer:

• Clubs are back – but so is drink spiking. Here are your stories

• ‘Don’t get spiked’, Durham University says in now-deleted social media posts

• This is how you can tell if your drink has been spiked