Students Unions at different campuses are urging students to be vigilant following growing reports of drink spiking and spiking via injection in bars and nightclubs across parts of Ireland and Britain.
Munster Technological University Kerry’s Student’s Union President, Chris Clifford said they are aware of six students who had their drinks spiked during their Freshers Week.
“It happened in a venue that wasn’t associated with the Students’ Union. They came to us separately with the report,” he said.
On the back of the reports, the Union ran a campaign to raise awareness on the issue by placing lollipops in students’ drinks to show them how easily a drink can be spiked.
“Our first and second years have probably never stepped foot in a nightclub in a normal environment so just to give them the awareness because the last the last thing we want to do is victim blame,” said Mr Clifford.
To date, there have been 198 confirmed reports of drink spiking in September and October across various parts of the UK, plus 24 reports of some form of injection.
Mary Crilly from the Cork Sexual Violence Centre said that while they have seen cases of drinks being spiked with drugs or additional alcohol, they have not seen cases of people being spiked via injection
“It’s just a new way of doing it,” she said.
Ms Crilly urged people to call out peers on unacceptable behaviours such as this if they see it happening.
University College Dublin's union said it has also heard reports from students about potential instances of spiking during the first semester.
As students across the country return to nightlife following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, the union issued a number of posts on social media over the bank holiday weekend to highlight the signs of a spiking.
Molly Greenough, UCDSU welfare officer said it is “incredibly disheartening” to see the rise in reported cases of spiking both here and in Britain.
“It is vital to emphasise that the onus never lies on the victim to not be spiked, but rather on the perpetrator to not commit such a heinous crime," she said.
The union added that while it can be a tough conversation to have, it’s important for those in a position of privilege to safely call out peers on unacceptable behaviours when they see them happening.
“We can all play a part in developing a culture of consent, compassion, and community,” added Ms Greenough.
We have all heard the reports of a surge in spiking in Ireland and the UK.— UCD Students' Union (@UCDSU) October 26, 2021
Above all else, we want you to be safe, take a look at our graphic for info on some potential signs of spiking.
See also, HSE guidance if you have been spiked - https://t.co/1swHWW6zME pic.twitter.com/2dIWIIuvjP
Now more than ever, students have to be aware of the dangers of going out and how they can best look out for each other and have the best experience possible, said Niamh Scully, UCDSU’s Gender Equality Campaign Co-ordinator.
“There are signs we can look out for if someone has been spiked and knowing these helps us look out for each other and protect victims of these assaults.”
The Union also said that students should consult the HSE guidance if they think that they or a friend have been spiked.
It comes following numerous reports of drink spiking or of injection spiking across Britain over the past two months.
The HSE has said it is “keeping a close eye” on the reopened night-time economy here on the back of those reports.
A number of police forces in Britain say they are conducting investigations into a multitude of ‘injection spiking’ reports and at least three young men have been arrested so far.
In Brighton, it was yesterday confirmed that detectives are investigating six reports of women being injected while on nights out during the past week.
Victims of ‘spiking’ in Ireland have been advised to come forward and report all incidents to local Gardaí.
An Garda Síochána said it is not in a position to verify the contents of the highlighted social media activity and has not recorded any incidents of this nature at this time.
Gardaí said advice on drink spiking and related public health issues are a matter for the HSE and advice can be found on hse.ie.
Any incident of this type of crime including those with evidence to suggest a link with ‘spiking’ will be investigated by either local Gardaí supported by or attached to Divisional Proactive Services Units.
Details of how to report can be found on garda.ie.