‘It shouldn’t be this way’ Northumbria SU issues statement about drink spiking

‘As a Union we are doing everything we can to help to keep everyone safe, happy and healthy’

Northumbria Students’ Union has responded to the explosion of reports in drink-spiking, encouraging students to look after themselves when enjoying a night out.

The Tab exclusively revealed that over 2,600 young people believe they’ve been spiked already this term, with some students also reporting horrifying accounts of being spiked by injection, not just through their drinks.

SU President Gaz Smith told The Newcastle Tab: “The safety of our students is our top priority. Any instance of drink spiking is a cause for concern, so these statistics are particularly alarming.

“We’re working closely with the City Council, university and Northumbria Police on a safety and wellbeing campaign that aims to see these numbers drastically reduced. The union are here to offer support to any of our students who may have been spiked.”

The SU Vice-Presidents for Welfare and Sport created a joint statement shared on social media and online, reassuring students that they’re there to help however and whenever students need it.

The statement asked students to be vigilant and careful on a night out saying: “We wanted to put out a statement to everyone and although it shouldn’t be this way, ask that we all stay vigilant in times like these and that we keep an eye out for anything suspicious happening in bars, clubs and on the streets.

“We would like everyone to be aware that as a Union we are doing everything we can to help to keep everyone safe, happy and healthy.”

The union already operates a range of measures in its student bar, Habita, to keep students safe from the dangers of spiking.

Northumbria SU Bar, Habita, already has some measures in place to prevent students being spiked

“In Habita we currently give out ‘Spikeys’ which are free to pick up and cover your bottles with a hole in the top for your straw to stop anyone being able to tamper with your drinks; we also are looking into supplying cup covers for larger drinks so that they can also be protected

“As a union, we practice a zero-tolerance approach. Any student believed to have been spiking the drinks of another or to have enabled or encouraged it will be reported to the University and the Police for them to take action for possible breach of Student Regulations and the law which could lead to both removal from university and criminal charges.”

The union also confirmed it was in contact with Newcastle City Council and Northumbria Police to find solutions to make both the union and the city safer for students. The team is also looking at what bars in Newcastle can do to match their campaign.

The statement also reminded students of the services the university offers including the Safezone app which automatically liaises with university security and emergency services when students find themselves in danger. It also offers a feature where students can fill in a form and report suspicious activity.

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.

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