There are news reports of a large increase in drink-spiking victims presenting to hospitals. The drugs identified are primarily GBH, ketamine (horse tranquiller) and liquid ecstasy, plus epilepsy and sleeping drugs.
Occasionally at work, when I think about it, I inquire of young female passengers if they know anyone who’s had their drink spiked. I’ve made about a half dozen inquiries in the last six months. Disturbingly, passengers have all answered in the affirmative.
Last night my passenger un-hesitantly responded, ‘Yes, a friend we were out with recently was a spiking victim’. ‘Where was this ?’, I asked her. ‘King Street Wharf’, she responded, a place other passengers have previously identified. This is a popular area of trendy bars, frequented by large groups of middle-class young adults on the grog.
It’s a crowd who indulge in exotic beers, spirits and cocktails until the early hours. The King Street bars’ ambiance borders on that of dance clubs, yet still retains enough bar characteristics to be able to mix socially and meet new friends. In short, music levels allow one to hold a decent conversation, barely.
Not so that of dance clubs, where many of this crowd move to after midnight in order to dance till dawn. There the dominant vibe is the music, LOUD music, which precludes any meaningful conversation. A vibe invariably enhanced by the use of ecstasy, GBH, speed, cocaine, and/or ice. Some of the drugs used by drink-spikers.
Fortunately in the case mentioned by last night’s passenger, her group of friends stayed together and accompanied the victim home in a taxi. In fact none of these cases related to me had pursued medical treatment or lodged police reports.
Quite possibly, and I’m extrapolating here, the symptoms of drink spiking are not unlike those of recreational drugs, except for being much heavier dosages. Drugs which many people are blasé about, from regular use in dance clubs.
Maybe due to the spike-victim's condition, their symptoms are not considered debilitating enough to be life threatening, and so are never reported. However the amount of unreported cases is most worrying. Anecdotal evidence I’m hearing suggests most victims are being escorted home by friends, thereby avoiding official statistics.
It's apparent clubbers can comfortably handle single doses of party drugs and still retain the ability to look after themselves. However two doses in close succession, maybe the result of a drink-spike, and the effects are often devastating.
In the short space of thirty minutes, the second dose will kick-in and bang, they’re gone, to be ‘taken care of’ by the closest person at hand.
Needless to say, people must watch out for each other when partying on chemicals. And if they think someone is just nodding-off under the influence, having ‘a good time’ like, they may actually be spiking victims, who are quietly dying.