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Vulnerable Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre says nine cases of suspected spiking in Tralee is 'concerning'

'We’ve always had reports of drink spiking but the extent since the clubs reopened in the last couple of weeks is very concerning'

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There have been nine cases of suspected spiking in Kerry in the last month alone

There have been nine cases of suspected spiking in Kerry in the last month alone

There have been nine cases of suspected spiking in Kerry in the last month alone

Clubs and venues need to take steps to ensure their patrons are safe, the head of the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (KRSAC) has said, after a “concerning” rise in drink spiking cases in recent weeks. 

It follows the reporting of nine cases of suspected ‘spiking’, including one involving the use of a needle in Tralee, in the last month alone.

KRSAC Manager Vera O’Leary told the Kerryman the reports are deeply worrying.

“Historically we’ve always had reports of drink spiking but the extent since the clubs reopened in the last couple of weeks is very concerning and in particular the injection spiking,” she said.

“We don’t know the genesis of it. By that I mean who came up with this idea and what drug are they using.

“This is very concerning as it’s not just in Ireland, its happening globally,” she added.

According to Ms O’Leary, more toxicology testing is need to identify the drugs being used.

She also warned that delays in potential spiking victims’ reporting the incidents can make identifying the drugs and the culprits more problematic.

“The difficulty can be when it happens to somebody they wake up the next day, feel very disorientated and out of it and it can often be down the road by the time they go to get help. By then it’s often too late for testing

“Also if they do go to hospital and go through the Emergency Department they may only be tested them for certain drugs when we don’t know what’s actually being used,” said Ms O’Leary.

Ms O’Leary said clubs and venues need to ensure their patrons are safe and take steps to protect people who may be at risk.

“Clubs can take responsibility and have security staff that are updated and know to keep and eye out for anybody that’s under the influence or somebody who seems vulnerable,” she said.

“What I think would be a brilliant idea, and it's something some clubs are looking at, is having welfare officers. Someone trained up in every nightclub and every late night venue who can walk around and see if someone is vulnerable.”

Ms O’Leary advised people who suspect they may have been spiked to find a friend or somebody to help.

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“When you are out with friends look out for each other and most importantly, if you believe you have been spiked, report it to the guards,” said Ms O’Leary.

“Unless the guards are made aware of it, unfortunately, there’s nothing they can do and it’s only when they can investigate that a pattern of behaviour might emerge or CCTV might help identify someone responsible.”

Numerous cases of drink spiking – and the use of needles to drug unsuspecting people while out socialising – have been reported across the UK and Ireland since the hospitality sector reopened after the Covid lock-down.

Earlier this month, gardai in Kerry appealed to any other victims of similar incidents to come forward, as they investigated the suspected spiking of a woman in Tralee that may have involved a drug being administered by a needle.

It follows an incident involving a woman who became disorientated that was possibly caused by a drug administered by a needle prick.

In a statement to Radio Kerry News, gardaí said they are continuing to investigate to determine the exact circumstances of the incident.

Gardaí have not disclosed the location where the alleged assault occurred or when it happened.

The statement says no further specific details can be provided until further detailed analysis is done.

Gardaí are advising any victims of similar incidents or any form of 'drug spiking' to come forward and report such incidents.

Investigations are then carried out by local gardai supported by or attached to Divisional Proactive Services Units.

The week before it was reported how gardai were investigating the suspected spiking of a woman with a needle in Dublin.

Gardaí in Store Street have been investigating a report from a young woman in relation to an alleged spiking incident, where she noticed “physical bruising possibly caused by a needle prick.”

A garda spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána in Store Street are investigating a report from a female in relation to an alleged assault.

“The nature of the incident is that the female became disorientated whilst socialising in a licensed premises and discovered the following morning physical bruising possibly caused by a needle prick.

“The injured party in this case was supported by friends and brought home safely on the night and subsequently received medical treatment. An Garda Síochána continue to liaise with and support the injured party.

“An Garda Síochána continue to investigate to determine the exact circumstances of this incident.

“Any incident of this type of crime (assault/sexual assault) including those with evidence to suggest a link with ‘spiking’ will be investigated by either local Gardaí supported by or attached to Divisional Proactive Services Units.”

The spokesperson added that “any victims of similar incidents or any form of ‘drug spiking’ to come forward and report such incidents to local gardaí.”

It comes after reports emerged that at least six Munster Technological University (MTU) students were spiked with drugs last month.

They each contacted the MTU Students Union (SU) separately to report that their drinks had been spiked but all of them said they had suddenly felt extremely weak and very sick.

This is despite the fact that all of them insisted that they had only drunk a small amount of alcohol.

The students, both male and female, who have all since recovered, complained of feeling disorientated and ill.

The complaints all related to the same night and the same venue.

The students reported the incidents to the welfare office of the Tralee MTU campus which prompted the Students’ Union to mount a special awareness campaign in which lollipops were placed in peoples’ drinks at various events to show just how easy it is to spike a drink.

“Our first and second years have probably never stepped foot in a nightclub in a normal environment so just to give them the awareness because the last the last thing we want to do is victim blame,” said SU President Chris Clifford.

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