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The Spikedemic’; Students’ concerns and fears

With the number of reported spiking cases on the rise and spiking by injection becoming especially prevalent, the safety of students on nights out has become an increasingly important topic.

Sussex Police have reported 31 cases of needle spiking since 19th October and 63 cases of drink tampering since 1st October. So far 3 men within the Brighton and Hove area have been arrested on suspicion of administering poison with the intent to injure.

With the increased media coverage surrounding spiking, we spoke to Brighton students and members of the public about their views on spiking and what they feel venues can be doing to make people feel safe.

A Brighton University student and bar worker, who wished to remain anonymous said, “A lot of my friends have had a lot of worries in terms of going out in clubs, and quite a few of them have been spiked.”

“When you go to a club and get patted down by security, I’ve always felt that it has been so inadequate.”

“I think there needs to be a proper training programme in terms of genuinely identifying problem cases for other people and there should be other systems included in that . . . like drink spiking test kits and the drink condoms and stuff like that.”

In a poll carried out through Instagram, 87% of students said that they do not think that nightclubs and bars are doing enough to prevent incidents of spiking from occurring. When asked whether they or anybody they know, has been the victim of spiking since clubs and bars reopened, 49% answered yes.

The current concerns surrounding spiking have been addressed across the country with events and campaigns being run to try and bring awareness to the problem.

Shanice, 19, an accounting and finance student at the University of Brighton, said “A lot more awareness [is needed], I know that at a couple of universities they have done ‘Girls Night In’ where all of the girls have boycotted clubs for either a day or a week and that’s raised some awareness.”

Sonia, 20, also an accounting and finance student at the University of Brighton said: “I feel like in terms of security they need to do more bag checks and stuff. I feel like they only check girls’ bags and they don’t really check other people’s pockets.”

Despite efforts to provide safety precautions, such as drinks coverings, in a variety of venues across Brighton, students have voiced their apprehension over attending certain pubs and clubs for the fear of their safety, namely Pryzm, The Arch, and Chalk.

These venues were contacted to discuss what they were doing in order to try and prevent spiking and reduce people’s fears around spiking but they chose not to respond.

By Alicia McDermott

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July 2024