A THIRD level student from West Cork is convinced she was the victim of ‘injection spiking’ while on a night out and wants to warn other young people to be on their guard.
There’s been an increase in reported cases of drug spiking in recent weeks throughout the country and Erica Grozavu Fitzgerald believes she was another unsuspecting victim while socialising in Cork city with friends on Hallowe’en night.
Erica (18) who is studying acting in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, recalls enjoying her night out, when all of a sudden she became very unwell, and lost consciousness.
‘We were a group of four, and another friend joined us later in the night. I had a few drinks but I felt fine up to a certain point, after which I can’t remember anything,’ she said. From what friends who were outside told her, she left the venue on her own, stumbled and collapsed on the ground.
‘I was unconscious and getting sick,’ said Erica, who is from Bandon and lives in Ardfield.
After a time she came around but felt confused and incoherent. Her grandparents were contacted and collected her, and the next day, aware of the growing cases of ‘spiking’, she checked her body for any bruises or marks.
‘I couldn’t see anything. But that Tuesday I checked again and this time I found a needle mark and a bruise on the outside of my thigh,’ said Erica.
‘I went to my doctor where I gave a blood and urine sample, and I went to Anglesea St Garda Station to give a statement about what happened.’
Gardaí have confirmed an investigation is underway ‘into an alleged assault, of a female, possibly caused by a needle prick’ on Hallowe’en night.
Erica wanted to share the distressing story to help others: ‘We had stayed in the one bar all night, we only moved tables once when we went outside, and it was all very chill and casual, so it’s hard to know how it happened. But I know I wouldn’t like it to happen to someone else. I want people to know this is a real thing and not some urban myth.
‘It has definitely made myself and my friends more nervous of going out and we’re much more on guard.’
Garda Chief Supt Con Cadogan said drug and drink spiking was an area of concern, and something people needed to be made aware of.
‘Most clubs and premises have CCTV now so the sooner this activity is reported to us the better so it can be stamped out,’ he said.
Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns has recently raised the issue in the Dáil, calling for greater action on spiking incidents in pubs and nightclubs.