AN alarming summer craze for pricking unsuspecting partygoers with needles could spread Hepatitis and HIV, an expert has warned the Olive Press.
There is no official data on the number of victims spiked, but already it is into the hundreds.
Andalucia alone has seen a shocking 96 possible cases of ‘hypodermic needle spiking’ with dozens more reported in Valencia and the Balearic Islands.
The Spanish press has speculated that the spikings could be attempts to drug young women to later sexually assault them.
However, an Olive Press investigation has found that this is unlikely, with police sources revealing that it appears to be part of a ‘dangerous prank that started in the UK’ last year.
While a Guardia Civil investigator confirmed they are still searching for ‘definitive motives’, she revealed it appears to have started out as an online ‘challenge’.
The Madrid investigator Maria Luisa Calcerrada told the Olive Press that, incredibly, none of the 96 cases involved drugs.
But, she added, the consequences of the irresponsible ‘prank’ could be deadly.
“We haven’t had any cases of drug-facilitated sexual assault. All of the tests of women who reported being needle spiked were negative.”
She added: “We are currently investigating what the perpetrators’ motivation is, but it always happens in crowded places.
“They are not an organised group.The perpetrators come from different backgrounds and have different motivations.
“But we are taking this very seriously and need to stress the dangers to people,” she added.
Meanwhile, a Professor of Forensic Toxicology from Santiago de Compostela University, Angelines Cruz, warned that as the same needles are probably being used on different victims, there’s a danger that serious diseases like hepatitis and HIV can be transmitted.
But she also does not believe that drugging or sexual abuse is the motive.
“To drug someone with a needle, the perpetrator needs a lot of time to inject the drug,” she explained.
“Also, the effect is not immediate, so it makes no sense to me that this technique is used to override their will.”
She concluded: “Now that the perpetrators know that they are committing a crime, they will think twice before doing it.”
The President of the Association of Nightclubs, Daniel Espasses, 33, told the Olive Press that a protocol has been put into place in order to stop this ‘viral challenge’.
“When a case is detected, we immediately contact the police, they arrive at the club with an ambulance to carry out the first test and then another test is made at a hospital,” he said.
“I believe that clubs are still safe for women, our staff know what to do in case a woman is pricked or is spiked in a club, also there are a lot of cameras that are monitoring what’s going on the premises,” he added.
Despite the police reports that no one has been drugged, several victims have reported feeling woozy after being pricked, suggesting otherwise.
Miriam Alba, 20, wrote on Twitter that she was a victim of needle spiking in a Barcelona club.
She said: “Someone pricked me in the thigh. As soon as I realised it, I ran to the bouncer who helped me and sat me on a sofa.
“Ten minutes later I collapsed feeling drowsy and with a feeling that I would do whatever I was told.”
The British Embassy in Madrid told the Olive Press that as yet, there have been no reported incidents of needle-spiking among British tourists but confirmed that their ‘Stick with your Mates’ campaign was designed to promote safety when on a night out.
British Consul General Lloyd Milen told the Olive Press: “Our long-term prevention campaign Stick with your Mates first came about because, in 2018, 7 out of 10 victims of serious falls in Magaluf and San Antonio were on their own when they fell – hence the call to action, to stick with your mates and follow our simple tips to stay safe when
“This summer there’s been a reported increase in drink and needle spiking across Europe, which is a reminder of the importance of keeping a close eye on both your drinks and your friends on a night out. Sticking together isn’t just about preventing falls – looking out for each other is the best way to have a holiday to remember, not one you want to forget.”
- Needle spike cases spread to Spain’s Balearic Islands as UK campaign tells holidaymakers to ‘stick with their mates’
- Police investigate spate of ‘needle spike’ attacks on women in clubs across Spain