The Gardai have told Gript that they have not recorded any incidents in which a young woman was spiked on a night out by someone using a syringe or needle. This is despite multiple claims on social media that such events are becoming increasingly common, and that several of the alleged incidents had been reported to the police.
Rumours that young women were being spiked on nights out by people using syringes to inject them with some sort of drug began to circulate on British social media last week, with the rumours breaking through into the mainstream press shortly afterwards.
At this point there have been reports of “injection spiking” in numerous English and Scottish cities, police are investigating multiple reports of such crimes, and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is reported to have requested the British police to provide her with an “urgent update” on the matter.
However, experts have been divided on the likelihood that injection spikings are actually happening. The BBC quotes Prof Adam Winstock of the Global Drugs Survey as saying “the idea that these things can be randomly given through clothes in a club is just not likely,” and that it would be “difficult” to keep a needly in someone’s skin long enough to inject them as “normally you’d have to inject several millilitres, that’s half a teaspoon full of drugs – into somebody. That hurts and people notice.”
Vice News similar quoted David Caldicott, an emergency medicine consultant and founder of drug testing project WEDINOS, as saying “the technical and medical knowledge required to perform this would make this deeply improbably. It is at the level of a state sponsored actor incapaciting a dissident.” He added that “It’s really hard to stick a needle in someone without them noticing, especially if you have to keep the needle in there for long enough, maybe 20 seconds, to inject enough drugs to cause this. If you were malicious there would be half a dozen much easier other ways to spike someone.”
The possibility that the reports of injection spikings may be false has not stopped the press in England from widely reporting the alleged incidents as if they had been confirmed to have occurred.
Regina Doherty, FG Seanad Leader, herself broadcast one of the claims, saying that “this is incredibly scary for our young women to have to contend with. Be extra cautious.” When we questioned Doherty on why she would make such a statement, given that she could not verify that the alleged crime occurred, and the concern that broadcasting such claims would be harmful if they were untrue, she said “Clearly the difference between me and you Gary is that I believe women, I believe victims when they come forward.”
This is incredibly scary for our young women to have to contend with. Be extra cautious https://t.co/HjvSqEJlGK
— Regina Doherty (@ReginaDo) October 26, 2021
We asked the Gardai if there was any possibility that young women had made reports, but those reports had been delayed or any not been appropriately logged, or if there was any other way in which the claims on social media, that people are been injection spiked and reported it to the guards, could be correct. They told us that “We don’t provide comment on third party materials. The response made available…is up to date.”
The Guards added that “An Garda Síochána would advise any victims of ‘spiking’ to come forward and report all incidents to local Gardaí…Any incident of this type of crime (assault/ sexual assault) 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 our website Garda.ie – https://www.garda.ie/en/crime/sexual-crime/”