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Upsurge in drink spiking across city and county – and low chance of detection

The victims of ‘spiking’ have just hours to prove that they have been “poisoned” by criminals for reasons ranging from sexual assault to sick amusement.

And the toxic cocktail used can even be smuggled into nightclubs in hand sanitiser bottles.

Student leaders in Galway have reported that while alleged needle-spiking events have gained much media coverage in recent times, the use of so-called ‘date rape’ drugs continues to be the most common form of spiking locally.

And while awareness of spiking is widespread, those targeted are often the last to know that their drink has been interfered with.

Recently released figures from An Garda Síochána show there was an almost nine-fold increase in reported spiking incidences last year on the previous twelve months – but those figures tell only part of the story according to the Welfare Officer at University of Galway Students’ Union.

Imogen O’Flaherty Falconer told the Connacht Tribune that victims of spiking were in a race against time to prove they had unknowingly been poisoned – and given the effects of spiking, many had little hope of proving what had happened to them.

The drug of choice for the twisted individuals targeting innocent people was GHB, according to Ms O’Flaherty Falconer, a clear liquid tipped into drinks which left victims incapacitated in a matter of minutes.

“Spiking is definitely something we’ve seen become more common over the last couple of years. There were a good few cases of it during Freshers’ Week in September, when the new first years arrived.

“In Freshers’ Week, it was GHB every time. It’s used because it’s very easy to conceal – it’s a clear liquid and can be brought into pubs or clubs disguised as hand sanitiser,” she said.

Read our full investigation in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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