A New Weapon
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European authorities are grappling with reports of unknown assailants injecting needles and syringes into unsuspecting victims, warning such cases are on the rise and difficult to trace, the Washington Post reported.
The offense, known as “needle spiking,” is an injection given without consent or knowledge, usually at a bar or nightclub, in a similar vein to the far more common spiking of drinks.
Officials said these attacks have been documented in different venues and events in a number of European countries, including Britain, France and the Netherlands. So far, French police have received more than 300 complaints from victims of injections. They have made no arrests and the motive behind the attacks remains unclear.
The victims – the majority of them women – say they often experience memory loss or notice the injuries later. It’s uncertain whether drugs are being administered in the attacks.
As authorities are working on tracing the culprits, they have issued safety warnings and urged citizens to remain vigilant. In the Dutch city of Groningen, the municipality has set up an online helpline for residents to report such incidents.
Victims’ rights advocates warned that while drink spiking remains a bigger issue, the effects of needle-spiking are the same. The victims often feel “embarrassed and ashamed” and also may feel guilty for being unable to recall events, resulting in a lack of reporting.