My drink was spiked at a social in Loughborough
The doctor said it was probably GHB
At a Fine Art social, in a bar I’ve frequented since my 18th birthday, I found myself paralysed after only three drinks.
As a young female I’ve always been told to watch my drinks since I was 15. The concept of being spiked seems beneath our generation – drinking exclusively from bottles or guarding our drinks all sounds a bit too uptight for us. I’ve always been one of the more sensible girls, drinking from lidded cups in festival crowds at my mother’s request. The risk, in my head, existed only in dirty fields and big cities, not on my doorstep.
Yet one night right here in Loughborough, it happened. One moment I was complimenting a stranger on the glitter in his beard on my way to the toilets, the next I’d collapsed. Unable to stand up – throwing up into my hair on the floor. Initially embarrassed of my state, my thoughts were not clear enough to realise these weren’t the effects of alcohol. I locked myself in a bathroom and waited out periods of being paralysed. I was unable to hear my phone on the floor beside me yet completely visually aware of my surroundings. These symptoms, followed by periods of unconsciousness, lasted roughly two hours. While ideally I’d have found help from bar staff or paramedics during this period, at least I know no one had access to me while unconscious.
After this I left the club to get some “fresh air”. I now know this is something spikers rely on, often drugging several girls and waiting for one to leave – giving them chance to offer a “helping hand” and take a girl home with them. I found my phone, called the friend I had arrived with and choked out: “I think I was spiked.” I wasn’t taken to hospital – in hindsight I should have pushed my friends to call an ambulance, but as soon as I was safe I just wanted to sleep. I’ll never find out what I was given, but my doctor tells me that it was most likely GHB. GHB is a drug almost exclusively sold illegally as a date rape drug. As scary as this is, I’m assured it has no lasting affects.
The NHS website urged me to visit A&E. I waited for three and a half hours and left without even seeing a nurse. Had I been prepared for this experience, or not shaking from the effects of losing everything from my stomach, I may have confidently told the receptionist to take a blood or urine sample from me on arrival. This would have put me safely in the 12 hour period that GBH is detectable in your system and would have given the police the evidence they needed to do a full investigation. As it stands, I wasn’t tested for 72 hours – at which point it’s near impossible to detect any of the usual date rape drugs.
Having told my story to friends, more and more stories surfaced. One friend has recently been spiked with a party drug by his flatmates – endangering his on and off campus sports career if he’s drug tested in the near future. My feminist roots tell me “I can wear what I want, drink what I like, it’s not my responsibility to avoid falling victim”. This statement is partially true, rape is a rapist’s fault. Yet since this night, I drink from bottles with my thumb covering the top or down shooters, gone within seconds at the bar, not existing long enough to be tampered with.
Being cautious doesn’t have to ruin a night out – I urge you to be unapologetically forward in these situations. If you find yourself ill on a night out, stay with friends, don’t allow them to leave you. Err on the side of caution and if you think you may have been spiked, take a urine sample to the GP the next morning. Believe me, if you feel you may have been drugged it will haunt you to be unable to find out what was in your system.