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Woman's drink spiked with 'rape' drug

PUBLISHED: 23:17 03 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

NIGHTSPOTS in Felixstowe are considering offering revellers 'swizzle sticks,' after a young woman's drink was allegedly spiked with a date-rape drug.

Friends watched with horror as the woman was left unconscious and helpless with no sense of what was happening to her or who she was after the incident, which happened following a visit to two seafront bars.

NIGHTSPOTS in Felixstowe are considering offering revellers 'swizzle sticks,' after a young woman's drink was allegedly spiked with a date-rape drug.

Friends watched with horror as the woman was left unconscious and helpless with no sense of what was happening to her or who she was after the incident, which happened following a visit to two seafront bars.

The woman and her boyfriend have now called for clubs and pubs to tack action in the wake of the terrifying incident, to improve safety for female clubbers.

One possible initiative is to introduce 'swizzle sticks' which enable customers to test their own drinks if they fear someone has tampered with them.

The boyfriend of the woman - both have asked for their identities to be withheld said: "Someone slipped quite a high dose of something quite powerful into my girlfriend's drink when we were not looking.

"She had had only four drinks over four hours. It is the only explanation we can find for what happened over the next couple of hours.

"From the time I noticed something was wrong, within half an hour she didn't know who she was or who I was. She couldn't walk or stand up, her eyes were rolling in her head and she fell unconscious. It was quite frightening.

"We got her awake again and she just didn't have a clue what was going on."

He had spoken to community drugs workers and they said the symptoms and timings could indicate someone had spiked her drink with Rohypnol, one of about 40 different date rape drugs on the streets, most of which are colourless and tasteless when dissolved.

Rohypnol was introduced for short term sleep disorders. It is ten times more powerful than Valium and has a side effect of inducing short term memory loss.

Unauthorised possession of Rohypnol has been made a criminal offence after a number of women claimed their drinks had been spiked with the drug before they were raped.

"I wasn't going to go out that night with her. I only changed my mind at the last minute," said the boyfriend.

"And thank God that I did because anything could have happened to her - not just someone raping her, but she could have staggered into the street and been knocked down, been attacked or anything.

"I think it is a dreadful and cruel thing to do to spike someone's drink for whatever reason.

"It's bad enough that you have to watch your drinks in the clubs nowadays and take them with you wherever you go, even the loo, but now my girlfriend doesn't want to go out any more because she is so worried."

He added: "If the clubs and bars in Felixstowe had swizzle sticks on the bars for people to use, I am sure everyone would feel a lot safer."

The couple had been to Bonds bar in the old Grand Hotel complex in Undercliff Road West, and then up Bent Hill to the Bandbox and Splitz Bar. They do not blame the night-spots but hope they will act to help make customers feel safer.

Peter Whalley, owner of Bonds, pledged to investigate the possibility of using "swizzle sticks" - which change colour when dipped in drinks to alert the potential victim of the presence of drugs - in his premises.

"Without a doubt, I would be very interested in knowing more about swizzle sticks and seeing if we can introduce them – anything which improves safety has got to be a good move," said Mr Whalley.

"We are a very girl-friendly pub and we certainly get more women than men in and so I would be happy to do what I can to make customers feel safe."

A woman was taken to hospital in Bury St Edmunds for tests last month, which revealed she had had her drink spiked with a date rape drug in a club.

Luminar Leisure Ltd, which operates clubs in Bury and Ipswich, is now to sponsor a new swizzle stick campaign to combat the menace.

Police say anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of someone using date rape drugs should contact them immediately.

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