Across Europe, various reports have been made concerning “needle spiking.” Needle spiking is a term used to describe an unwanted and unsuspected jab from a needle by an assailant.
Authorities have made no arrests and have no idea why this is happening.
Attacks have been reported in London, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. According to The Washington Post, there is no known pattern for the attacks.
In some cases, drugs are injected with the needles, but not in others. Women are the primary victims, but men such as Nils Marzolf, 21, of Lyon, France, have also been victimized.
Marzolf said he was attacked at a metro train station. He had been avoiding clubs and large gatherings to protect himself from a possible attack, not realizing the train station would prove just as dangerous. He noted that it has been difficult to go out in public since he was spiked for fear of what may happen.
Aside from train stations, reports of needle spiking have surfaced from nightclubs, pubs, bars, soccer games, and pride festivals.
France alone has seen over 300 cases since March — so many that a hospital in Nancy, France, has set up special procedures for those with potential needle spiking injuries.
Hospital staff take urine and blood samples and do not dispose of the samples for five days in case the victim wishes to press charges or file a formal report.
Eva Keeling of Stafford, England, recounted her experience with needle spiking to The Washington Post. She shared that during a night out with her friends, they went outside the bar to get fresh air, and she soon became uncontrollably sick.
She could not move her body well and was projectile vomiting. Days later, her arm began to swell. Upon a visit to the doctor, it was confirmed that she had been stuck with a dirty needle.
As it stands, of the 302 people in France who have filed reports claiming to be victims of needle spiking, none have been sexually assaulted, and only one has been robbed.
Dr. Emmanuel Puskarczyk of Nancy commented that the likelihood of these attacks with the intent of administering drugs such as GHB, a highly potent anesthetic, is low, according to The New York Times. He noted that it would take several seconds to successfully inject the drug, which victims are likely to notice.
Of the identified victims, only two have proven to have traces of GHB in their system. However, it is worth stating that the data may be skewed as GHB is only detectable within 12 hours of entering the system.
Victims like Keeling and Marzolf, along with others, did not seek medical attention until more than 24 hours later.
Dr. Puskarczyk is primarily concerned with the effects of being jabbed with a contaminated needle. His concern is that patients could contract diseases such as HIV and hepatitis from the jabs.
In a quote obtained by The New York Times, he stated, “We didn’t find any drugs or substances or objective proof which attest to … administration of a substance with wrongful or criminal intent. What we fear the most is people contracting HIV, hepatitis, or any infectious disease.”