A 19-YEAR-OLD Bantry woman was hospitalised recently, after her drink was spiked on a night out in the town.
And last weekend the teenager issued a warning on social media to other young people about such dangers, following her dreadful experience on the night of Sunday July 31st.
The young woman was so overwhelmed by the response to the post she put up on her Facebook page that she now wishes to be anonymous while she is resting and recuperating at home.
She was, however, very deliberate in creating awareness of the danger by posting online a graphic account of her ordeal that night.
This is the third occasion in recent years that West Cork women, who believed they were victims of ‘spiking’ incidents, have spoken out.
The Bantry teenager lent her voice to the safety appeals by urging others to ‘be more careful next time they go out.’
As well as exercising personal vigilance, she urged people to keep a close eye on their friends to ensure their safety, and she advised: ‘Try stay with someone you trust the whole time.’
The young woman said all she remembers, after sitting down with a pint and her friends on a night out in Bantry, was waking up in CUH the next morning and being told her drink had been spiked.
‘I was aware of people being spiked all over the country,’ said the West Cork woman, ‘but I never thought it would happen to me. I am so lucky to have had my best friend and a good group of friends with me at the time, who knew to call for help immediately.
‘My family and friends have been so helpful and patient during this time and I couldn’t have asked for a better support system,’ she added.
‘I never thought that this could happen and especially in my home town. It frightens me and I still can’t gather thoughts as to why someone would do this, or how I’ve ended up in such a fragile state.’
The 19-year-old said her best friend, who was with her the entire time, recalled that she passed out twice for a short period of time. ‘The third time, I was out unconscious and unresponsive on the street for 45 minutes to an hour. Then I had a seizure.’
The teenager said the fire brigade and ambulance service were extremely helpful and brought her to CUH where she had a second seizure.
‘The past few days have been a rollercoaster, where one minute I’m fine and the next I slip out of consciousness,’ she said. ‘I haven’t been able to walk on my own since this happened.’
The young woman is currently undergoing many different tests and seeing doctors to figure out what exactly was in the drink.
‘I am home now,’ she told her friends and followers on Facebook, ‘and am doing better and on the road to recovery and hoping this isn’t leaving me with any long-term conditions.
‘I hate it all,’ she said, ‘and I wish we could go out and enjoy ourselves without worrying that something like this could happen to you, but it’s the sad reality of today’s world.
‘I hope that me, telling my story, can remind people to be mindful and careful. But do go out and enjoy yourself,’ she said, ‘just take precautions.’
A garda spokesman said they would advise any victims of any form of alleged ‘spiking’ to come forward and report such incidents to their local gardaí. The spokesperson also referred readers to Advice on Drink Spiking and related public health issues on the HSE website.