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The danger is not spiked drink, it’s drunkenness

Your report on spiked drinks (Irish Examiner, Mar 22) mentions two plausible studies that suggest it is much rarer than we have been led to believe.

One was a 2009 study by the University of Kent, and the other an Oireachtas Report that failed to find a single case of Rohypnol intoxication among the suspected cases of spiked drinks presented at the Rotunda Hospital.

The conclusion was that excessive consumption of alcohol was a far bigger concern.

According to the tabloid media, danger lurks in every bar in the form of a stranger with a pocketful of sedatives. Thus revellers, and their parents, may be less focused on actual sources of danger — such as their own excessive drinking.

I’m not suggesting drinks are never spiked. But your report quoted RTÉ’s Liveline programme.

Anyone can call in anonymously to a radio show and make any sensational claim — claims that can be difficult to verify, though they are often taken as gospel by many listeners.

Such anecdotal evidence is no substitute for careful research. Unfortunately, all too often it finds its way into Dáil debates, politicians being mindful of public perception. The galvanic current of public opinion is thus applied to the frog’s leg of government, and the sure result is reflex and badly-thought out legislation, often in cases where it’s not even required in the first place.

Nick Folley


Co Cork


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