07 June 2022

Fears of "needle spiking" in Europe

 LONDON — She had eagerly looked forward to going home for the holidays and reuniting with friends over dinner and drinks. Instead, Eva Keeling, 19, says, she wound up injected by a stranger with a needle, leaving her unable to speak or function while at a bar in her hometown of Stafford, in northern England.

“We went outside [the bar] for some fresh air … then I ended up losing all control of my body, the ability to walk, hold my head up, I couldn’t talk — I was projectile vomiting everywhere,” Keeling told The Washington Post. 

Days after her April night out, she still felt ill and, while getting dressed, noticed her arm was swollen. Feeling “petrified,” she rushed to a hospital for blood tests and was screened for diseases such as HIV. Doctors informed her she’d been injected with a “dirty needle,” causing the infection and swelling.

Keeling is one of hundreds of people across Britain and Europe who have been victims of suspected “needle spiking” — an injection administered without consent or knowledge, often in a bar or nightclub setting, in an attack similar to the more common crime of contaminating alcoholic drinks...

French police have received more than 300 complaints of injections in various regions since the end of March but have not made arrests, according to local media reports...

“It’s a really difficult crime,” she said. Possible motives could include assault, rape, human trafficking or even personal vendettas, she added.
Continued at The Washington Post.

Addendum:  See the informed commentary by reader Benjamin in the Comments section, and the links at this Wikipedia entry.


  1. I feel terrible for the numerous cherubic European adolescents who have suffered these vicious attacks. It must be awful for so many young people to lose control of their bodies and vomit outside of nightclubs where they presumably consumed alcohol in moderation, practiced formal ballroom dancing, and engaged in spirited political debate. I certainly hope that this invisible menace with unclear motives, who is committing perfect, evidence-free crimes with no lasting consequences is apprehended before long so that European youth are safe once again.

    It's gratifying to know that even the American press is clearly delineating this from what might otherwise be mistaken for overindulgence and fear of consequences. I am so very proud of the Washington Post for printing only fact-checked and verifiable information, thereby providing no ammunition to would-be fascists who might seek to undermine the press as an institution and seize any available narrative to gain power. That would be terrifying.

    We are truly living in a golden era.

    1. Benjamin, I'm having some difficulty understanding because your tongue is so deeply in your cheek. Are you indicating that the "victims" don't exist, or that they deserve this because of their risky behavior?

    2. Minnesotastan, Benjamin is referring to the talking points of right of centre news and other agencies which have blamed immigrants for these types of attacks. And at the same time he is blaming left wing news and other agencies for not adding the race/religion/origin of the attackers to articles.

      Feel free not to publish my comment, or do if you prefer, this is mostly just for your information.

  2. Ah yes, otherwise known as 'blame the victim'.

  3. That French bloke was right,hell is other people.

  4. Anything goes when it's for rape. The problem is that if you've already decided you are going to rape someone, there is little morality can do to stop you.

    On the other hand, this is just one new way of drugging victims. One of the many ways unsuspecting victims can be drugged. Spiking a drink remains much easier and requires much less prep.

    Best defense: ALWAYS go out with a friend that will not leave your side and who you can trust to take care of you. The key to safety is that you and your friend smell trouble much better than you alone, so you can get the hell outta there before things go wrong. Trust your spidey sense and LEAVE. Being in a pair is better than being in a group. Groups are sensitive to group-think and peer pressure. And they lose people.

    (and I say this is as in intimidatingly tall and loud man, who has still gotten in trouble. But much less so than if I hadn't had an equally tall and loud buddy around).

  5. Matters of mutual consent are often complicated in ways feminists deny--given they're often more bent on making ideological points more than seeking the truth. That said, this kind of bullshit should draw a 20 year mandatory prison sentence. Along with spiking drinks. NOT TO BE CONFUSED with the person who chooses to drink to excess and cannot sort out what happened the next day. Maybe a crime occurred, but that's a whole lot more complicated. Injecting someone is form of KIDNAPPING and it's just plain fucking zero tolerance territory, IMO. Too bad hyperbole around grey areas makes this sort of thing less clear as to its wholly different nature.

  6. Yes. I'm sorry. My sarcasm gets me in trouble, and this story is so irresponsible and absurd that I got prosaic. The fact is that, having read the entire story, I see not one piece of verifiable evidence backed up by a statement be a single medical professional. The only reference to a medical opinion is that which is reported by the single identified victim herself - not by the doctor who she claims told her that she'd been drugged. Why? Because the original reports were done by someone who was eager to print a scandalous story, and never bothered to ask for permission to speak with that doctor - which would have been entirely possible with the consent of the victim. The story actually links to another story, with the suggestion that there is medical support there, but that story only quotes a cosmetic surgeon who says "people can get needles in the mail." It also cites an arrest of two men on "suspicion" of something, but not any of the evidence to support it. No "men who were found in possession of needles with some strange substance in them."

    Forgive me, but this story has every ring of a moral panic, and none of the marks of responsible journalism. How close is this to every urban legend of clown sightings, people hiding under cars to ambush vulnerable women, and gang members killing at random as initiation. NONE of these things have ever been supported by evidence - at least not to have ever happened more than once, but they all made for exciting news stories.

    Now, it's entirely plausible that someone HAS been attacked in this way, and if so, it's most likely the result of a substantial psychiatric illness. That is a serious matter, but not evidence of some widespread trend. People hurt each other in many, many ways, but I can't see any other benefit or motivation for drugging someone in this way vs. a more traditional "spiking" of a drink, which is still a very real problem that is verifiable with evidence such as tox screens and cameras at bars. In this "needle spiking" situation, there's not even a suggestion of a single episode of sexual assault that is typically the sole purpose of the known behavior of drink spiking.

    I see that someone has used the phrase "blame the victim" here in the comments. It's unclear if that's directed at me, but this is nothing of the sort. If there were any significant evidence of a victim, then I would be in full favor of addressing this as a major problem. I professionally work with people who have suffered major trauma, including sexual trauma, and their needs are very real and their trauma quite verifiable. It's on the surface. It changes their lives. The effects don't wear off in a day.

    No. What I see here is a lot of adolescents using substances to excess, eager to avoid consequences for their behavior, and thankful for a mystery assailant who can never be caught or even confirmed to exist, but about which people are eager to believe. The fact that no permanent harm has ever been alleged to have been caused is just another convenient part of the equation. That's fine. I'm not even angry at the adolescents. This is, frankly, expected behavior. It's not like there isn't strong history to support adolescents playing on unverifiable phenomena for some social benefit... Hell, I KNOW I lied as an adolescent in order to shape the way people formed opinions of me. It's rare that a person doesn't do this.

    And yes, this kind of behavior by the press is exactly what undermines the notion that we can or should trust that institution when it becomes critically important that the public know the truth about things.

    For those eager to jump to the defense of these young people, why are we not then demanding a better-sourced story so that we can all be sure that we're developing a clear response to an understood problem? Or is this just too sexy or exciting to ask for details?

    1. Helpful analysis and perspective. Thanks.

    2. Thanks, Benjamin. I've inserted an addendum on the post referencing your comments.


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