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Campaign to raise awareness around spiking to be launched, says minister

Minister Simon Harris says there have been a number of cases in the UK that are concerning.

The minister spoke to the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) yesterday about the issue.
The minister spoke to the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) yesterday about the issue.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

AN INFORMATION CAMPAIGN to raise awareness among young people of the risk of spiking is to be launched, according to Further Education Minister Simon Harris.

Speaking to reporters today, he said he spoke to the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) yesterday about the issue.

“It is a major worry for students and they discussed that with me yesterday and what we have agreed to do is to work together… to put in place an information campaign,” he said.

It was pointed out to the minister that young women are particularly at risk, but he added that anybody is at risk of being spiked “in let’s call it the traditional fashion” by a person’s drink being spiked.

“But there’s also now a growing and very worrying phenomenon around spiked by needle,” he said.

“I think the UK has seen quite a few cases of it now and it’s very much beginning to take hold here,” he said. There is lot of new information emerging about that all the time, he said.

It is reported today that there have been 120 incidents of drinks being spiked reported to police in Northern Ireland so far this year.

Last month, reports of drink spiking were received in Derry, while Scottish police investigate reports of spiking by injection.

However, gardaí have not confirmed any injection spiking cases in Ireland. 

In response to a query from The Journal about injection spiking, the Garda press office said:

“An Garda Síochána has recorded a small number of incidents specifically of a ‘date rape drug’ nature to date in 2021.

“Separately, the presence of a ‘date rape drug’ could form part of the narrative of a substantive incident, such as assault, and be an aggravating factor.

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“This office is not in a position to provide any further specific details without further detailed analysis. An Garda Síochána would advise any victims of similar incidents or any form of ‘drug spiking’ to come forward and report such incidents to local Gardaí.

“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.

“Details of how to report can be found on our website Garda.ie.”

Harris said he will be speaking to the Minister of Justice Helen McEntee about the issue in the coming days. The awareness campaign for students is likely to be launched in the next couple of weeks.

With additional reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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