Girls Night In: Why women are staying in to combat use of 'date-rape' drugs in clubs

Protestors have been combatting drug abuse, such as drink spiking in nightclubs, which has impacted people ahead of nationwide boycott in the UK.

Rebecca Derbyshire, a landscape gardener from Liverpool, was 'needle spiked' with a date-rape drug in a nightclub last September. Reports of needle spikinghave been on the rise in the UK in the past months, as the nightlife is starting to pick back up as COVID restrictions are being lifted.

After Derbyshire shared her story, an alarming number of testimonies from women across the country have been pouring in on social media, all telling the same story of being drugged against their will while out on the town with friends. The harrowing testimonies have sparked outrage, and as a result, a nationwide movement has emerged—Girls Night In.

The movement to boycott bars and nightclubs, which is rapidly gaining momentum, is meant to combat the all-too-common use of 'date-rape' drugs in clubs. Women from all across the countries have united to voice their anger.

Date rape drugs or Rohypnol (Roofies) are also called ‘club drugs.’ They act as a central nervous system depressant,which when mixed in drinks, can make a person lose complete control over their body, often waking up the next day with no recollection of the night before. It can be detected up to 24 hours in the bloodstream.

‘Could make a big difference’

Derbyshire, the 26-year-old Stoke resident, explains why she is supporting the demonstration:

We are not asking for much. We want clubs and bars to increase their entry security, provide better training for their staff and to hand out free drink protectors. Simple things, but they could make a big difference.

Spiking is a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison. However, most of the women who spoke to the BBC said they did not report it to the authorities.

According to the National Police Chiefs' Council, there were 198 confirmed complaints of drink spiking in September and October, and 24 reports of injection spiking.

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Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, pointed towards ‘staff training, searching protocol, incident procedures and welfare/medical provision.’

Kill further adds:

We have publicly called for an inquiry by the Home Office into this issue, so we can gain some clarity on the scope and gravity of the situation.

Kill advised anyone who believes they have been spiked to contact the venue's personnel or management.

A petition ‘to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry’ has been issued. It has amassed nearly 170,000 signatures, at the time this article is published.

This petition throws light on the issue of public safety and wants to make mandatory search at nightclubs a law in order to ensure additional measures to prevent dangerous weapons and other objects from entering the premises.

It might be a pat-down search or a metal detector, but it must include safeguards to protect the community.

Even though the campaign has received some backlash for proposing that women should stay at home instead of going out, it continues to advocate for additional preventative measures for public security.

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