When Micaela turned to me at the bar and told me she thought she might have been punctured by a needle or injected with a drug, she looked shocked.
Before her friend Micaela, 27, moved to London for postgraduate studies in September, she received a warning from a friend Germany Regarding the spikes that are prevalent throughout Europe – either putting the drug in a drink or injecting it into someone with a hypodermic needle.
Acupuncture is causing concern across the UK during a “sudden increase across the country in October 2021”, according to a recent report Report by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.
Micaela, whose last name was not included due to the nature of her experience, didn’t even take a sip of her drink when she felt the prick in her buttocks. But she knew within five minutes that something was wrong. She became dizzy and dizzy, unable to look straight ahead. She immediately told me she was not feeling well.
Micaela couldn’t remember what happened after that, but she fell to the floor suddenly, and a group of people stood in a semicircle around her limp body. She woke up soon, but fearing that a stranger would come to pick her up, I put my arms around her shoulders and carried her to the exit.
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Who is the target of acupuncture?
Two types of injections are common: drink injections, in which someone puts drugs or alcohol in a person’s drink without their consent, and needle injections, in which someone secretly injects a victim.
For beverage fortification, it may include adding alcohol to non-alcoholic beverages, or adding drugs such as tranquilizers, amphetamines, or other drugs.
“It’s an explosive cocktail,” said Marco Antonio Jiménez, a criminologist and police officer in Mossos d’Esquadra, Spain, where there have been dozens of needle stabbings Reported so far this year.
Jimenez said the motivation behind the needles doesn’t always appear to be sexual assault. People appeared to be the target of looting, or to instill intimidation and fear, he said.
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British police figures show that needle incidents typically involve schoolgirls in their 20s and occur in pubs, clubs and festival, although family gatherings also pose risks, as perpetrators feel empowered by the lack of oversight. However, it’s not just a “girls’ problem,” says co-founder Colin Mackie. Spike Aware UK, an organization that has been working to raise awareness of the issue since 2017. Mackie’s son Greg died in 2017 in a drug-related incident.
in 2021 YouGov Survey11% of women and 6% of men in the UK said they had been added to the drug.
“I was embarrassed,” said 18-year-old Oscar Bass, who said he Stabbed in Watford, England, in August. “People didn’t believe me.” When doctors were unconvinced that the man, Buss, might have been injected, a male nurse who said he had been injected assured Buss of the necessary blood tests.
Interestingly, many injectables contain no drug at all. The National Police Chiefs’ Committee began toxicology testing in December 2021, and by August 2022, 57% of more than 624 samples contained insignificant drugs or no drugs at all.Only 2% Contain Drugs Supporting Needle Stick Incidents
Are needle punctures still happening?
“It seemed to be spreading like wildfire,” McKee said.Exceed 175,000 people signed the petition Require the UK government that nightclubs must legally search guests upon entry. (Parliament debated the petition in November 2021, arguing that the decision to search should be left to local authorities.)
After almost a year, continue Acupuncture reported throughout Europe Awareness of violent assaults and the need for action are being driven in the post-pandemic period where people are hungry for fun and new experiences.
“There has been a knock-on effect,” McKee said of the threat spreading outside the UK to France, Spain and Germany.
“There hasn’t been enough effort to understand how common spikes are, the motivations of the perpetrators or the impact on victims,” Dame Diana Johnson, chair of the Home Affairs Committee, told USA TODAY via email.
Are tourists at higher risk of getting needles?
For anyone traveling or studying abroad who may not have encountered the threat before, being aware that needle sticks are a very real possibility is paramount, Mackie said.
Tourists have been the target of testing because they often carry passports, cash or other valuables, he added. He said the holidays posed a high risk as people attended frequent gatherings and increased travel.
But it’s not about living in fear, Mackie added. Know the symptoms of a spike: dizziness, confusion or loss of consciousness, and unusual behavior, such as a lack of self-control.
Travel Safety Tips
► make a plan: It’s important to have a plan of action before a night out in case an attack does happen, including never putting down your drink (make sure you can see your drink being poured and delivered to you), using the buddy system (especially in unfamiliar venues) , save international emergency numbers (999 in the UK), and look up local hospitals just in case.
“It was easy to think what was going to happen … within 20 minutes of me looking for my friends[when I got to the bar],” Mikaela recalled in an interview with USA TODAY. “If I didn’t know about needle pricks, I wouldn’t have given that prick a second thought.”
► To report an incident: If in a bar or club, if you or a friend may have been poisoned, tell venue staff immediately and continue to talk to them throughout the situation, Mackie said. And, most importantly, get tested immediately to a hospital and report the assault to local authorities.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress reported 1,032 injection cases from early September 2021 to late December 2021, most of which occurred in October 2021. As of October 2022, there have been no convictions for needle sticks and no charged cases pending, NPCC spokeswoman Sarah Wolf confirmed to USA TODAY.
► Register with the embassy: For general travel safety, this enables embassy staff to contact travelers in the event of an emergency or ongoing crisis.U.S. citizens can also register with the State Department Smart Traveler Registration Program.
► Consider travel insurance for: travel insurance is Essential for travelers who are sick or injured abroadHospitals abroad may also want to have personal credit cards on file or require payment guarantees before providing services, experts say.