Gardaí investigate claim woman ‘spiked’ in nightclub with needle

Reports spread on social media that woman the victim of Dublin incident over weekend

Some experts have raised doubts about needle spiking being a widespread problem. File photograph: Getty

Some experts have raised doubts about needle spiking being a widespread problem. File photograph: Getty

 

Gardaí are investigating a report that a woman was “spiked” with a needle in a Dublin nightclub.

There have been many claims in recent weeks that needles are being used to surreptitiously inject drugs into women in late night venues, although until recently they were confined to the United Kingdom.

This week reports spread on social media that at least one Irish woman was the victim of a similar incident in Dublin over the weekend.

In a now deleted tweet, the woman posted a photograph of an apparent needle mark surrounded by bruising and stated she had been the victim of spiking while in a nightclub.

Garda headquarters initially said on Tuesday it “is not in a position to verify the contents of the highlighted social media activity at this time” and that it “has not recorded any incidents of this nature at this time”.

Report

In a follow-up statement on Wednesday it said gardaí in Store Street “are investigating a report from a female in relation to an alleged assault, the nature of the incident is that the female became disorientated whilst socialising in a licensed premises and discovered the following morning physical bruising possibly caused by a needle prick.

“The injured party in this case was supported by friends and brought home safely on the night and subsequently received medical treatment. An Garda Síochána continue to liaise with and support the injured party.”

Gardaí are investigating to determine the exact circumstances of this incident.”

A spokesman appealed for victims of similar incidents or any form of drug spiking to come forward and make a report.

“Any incident of this type of crime [assault/sexual assault] including those with evidence to suggest a link with ‘spiking’ will be investigated.”

Fine Gael Seanad leader Regina Doherty has called for “zero tolerance” for needle spiking.

“As is so often the case with issues of gender-based harassment and violence, much of the messaging surrounding this issue is targeted towards women. However, we need to look at what we are saying to the perpetrators of these crimes as without speaking to them directly, this problem will only continue for years and generations to come.”

The woman who made the complaint did not respond to request for comment.

Injecting someone with a syringe without consent became a specific offence during the 1990s amid fears needles filled with HIV-infected blood were being used in increasing numbers of robberies.

There have been reports from the UK of women saying they felt under the effects of drugs while in crowded nightclubs, only to later discover a needle mark on their skin. In Nottingham alone, there have been 12 such reports.

In response, police have stepped up patrols and Britain’s home secretary Priti Patel has requested a briefing on the matter. Boycotts of nightclubs have also been organised in several areas.

However, some experts have raised doubts about needle spiking being a widespread problem.

Prof Adam Winstock from the Global Drugs Survey told the BBC it would be difficult to inject someone with drugs in a nightclub situation without being noticed.

“Needles have to be inserted with a level of care – and that’s when you’ve got the patient sitting in front of you with skin and no clothes,” he said.

“The idea these things can be randomly given through clothes in a club is just not that likely.”

He said alcohol is far more likely to be used to spike victims.