When I was 13 a “ friend ” persuaded me to try a little “thing” he said would make me feel great.
“It’s harmless, don’t be boring,” he said.
Not wanting to come across as a bore or party pooper, common sense deserted me, I threw aside my fear and followed the crowd.
The little thing turned out to be isobutyl nitrite. That’s poppers or acid to me and you.
The effects were almost immediate – the rush of blood to my head, the racing heart and for a few seconds I felt sheer excitement.
Then I felt ill and my body felt out of control.
I promptly vomited at the feet of another teen.
I recall nothing else other than that I vowed I’d never put anything like that in my body again. And I haven’t.
It wouldn’t be until years later that I’d question the motives of that then-17-year-old who got me to take the acid.
I was re-minded of it this week with the drink spiking “epidemic” sweeping the UK.
Women have come forward to say they’ve had their drinks tampered with on nights out and there have been alarming reports some women have claimed they were injected.
Drink spiking is not new but it’s not a crime that has been taken seriously.
It’s estimated there are at least 25 incidents a week in Scotland alone. But nobody has been prosecuted between 2018-2020 for charges under crimes of “drugging” or under section 11 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.
There is no specific offence for “drink spiking”.
More women are coming forward but are they being taken seriously?
Police Scotland said it is investigating a very small number reported.
But we’re also hearing from women who say they’re being forced into verifying they were contaminated or made to feel ashamed for drinking in the first place.
It’s another spoke in the wheel of a woman’s safety checklist.
Don’t walk alone, carry a rape alarm, stay with a large crowd, keys between fingers, text when out and when you arrive home, don’t dress provocatively, check when a police officer stops you, it’s legitimate, buy a drink testing kit. And beware of needles.
It makes me feel sick.
Experience tells us predators will find ingenious ways to hunt down their prey.
Women find ways to stay safe and they circumvent that. We know this.
Arranging for girls-only clubbing nights is not the answer.
Are we to hark back to the days when men retired to the library for a cigar and a whisky while the little women gathered in the parlour for a sherry? Give me a break.
We need the authorities to act.
Make drink spiking an offence. Don’t force women to provide the evidence their drinks were tampered or to provide a motive.
It shouldn’t be seen as “just drunk hysterical women”.
Motive shouldn’t matter. It’s a vile crime. Whether it’s for laughs or sexually motivated the people who do this are dangerous.