Is there really a needle spiking epidemic?

Recently, there have been a growing number of reports of young men and women being spiked with sedatives, but is this really the case? Is it even possible to inject someone with a so called date rape drug?

According to medical experts it’s not so straight forward. GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) – the drug most usually associated with drink spiking- can in theory be injected. However, as a medical professional explained to drug someone effectively in this way would require a relatively high volume of the substance delivered via a large syringe and needle, held under the victim’s skin for at least 15 seconds. It would be almost impossible for the victim not to feel it. Alcohol could dampen the pain, but not eliminate it. Alternative drugs such as benzodiazepines could be used in smaller quantities, but they are not available to the public in injectable form.

A 2012 study by doctors at Wrexham Maelor Hospital found something intriguing when they examined women who believed they had been drugged. Most of them, they established, had been rendered helpless not by ‘date-rape’ substances, but by binge drinking. The medics found no evidence that any of the women seeking help from emergency doctors had been spiked, although one in five tested positive for recreational drugs.

Although there is an increase in reports of drink-tampering every year at the start of the autumn term, which is when thousands of students start socialising, there hasn’t yet been a single proven case of needle spiking in the UK – so is this another social media myth?

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