Piking victims have told lawmakers about the “enormous shame” they experienced after consuming the drug at night.
Two women and a man told the Commons Home Affairs Committee how they suffered memory blanks after being targeted in bars and clubs, lost control of their bodies and became “violently ill”.
Hannah Stratton of Newquay in Cornwall described how her drink was intoxicating while drinking a few glasses of wine with two friends at a quiet bar.
The 51-year-old said she had to lay her head on the bar table because she couldn’t keep her upper body up and her legs felt like lead.
Her friends helped her to a taxi home, but she said the driver judged her to be drunk and thought the whole experience was “outrageous”.
Ms Stratton said: “You just feel so disgusted with yourself – and it’s understandable to the other victims here.
“And it sounds really silly – many people have said to me: ‘No, no, no, don’t blame yourself, why are you feeling disgusted with yourself?’ But you can.
“It takes a long time to really turn it around and realize that, really, I don’t have any self-blame or that I shouldn’t blame myself, but that’s why I didn’t report it.”
She said she struggled with feelings of self-doubt whether she drank too much, but added: “I’m 51. I’ve never behaved like this in my life, and I’m a couple glasses. I am not going to behave like this after alcohol.”
Ms Stratton said she had educated her three daughters about the risks, but believed she was “too old” for this to happen to them,
She said she put up a post online about her experience and was contacted by nearly a hundred people “of all ages and both sexes” who said it had happened to them.
The committee was holding its first evidence session at Spiking on Wednesday.
Alexey Skatinis, from South Wales, said he suffered the injury during a trip to Las Vegas at a nightclub with a colleague.
He lost control of his hands, to the extent that he could not even make a fist, and ended up in the hospital several days later with liver and kidney problems.
Mr Skitinis said he did not report the “traumatic” experience to anyone except his family.
He added: “For me, it took the pleasure of going out with friends, or planning anything with friends – to be honest with you I haven’t touched alcohol after almost two years.”
He continued: “I know most of the spikes (taken out) are women, but anyone can be spiked at any time and in any place.”
Both witnesses suggested that an anonymous online reporting system could have helped them feel comfortable enough to come forward and report their experiences to the police to provide statistics to show its prevalence.
University of Nottingham student Zara Owen said she lost her memory after passing out at night and waking up in “horror”.
He had “pain” in his leg and upon inspection found a pin prick mark, adding that “the fact that someone injected a narcotic into my body is not known to me”.
Ms Owen reported the incident to the police, saying: “The way I napped was not normal, yet it’s not as normal as you hear it’s a drug in a drink, I thought I have to do, and spread this, and tell this, because without doing that, who knows how much it could have been inflated? There could be more cases.”
They believe that “humorous” crimes may be committed for “humor”.
Ms Stratton said she believed she was drugged “for fun” because the perpetrator would know that a group of middle-aged women would not leave a friend alone to exploit her, while He’s so weak.
She continued: “My daughter, who is in her 20s, will say that the conversation no longer seems to be, ‘Has anyone been drugged this weekend?’
“It’s, ‘Who’s got drugged this weekend?’
“It’s very common.
“And within their circles, they believe it’s mainly done for fun, just for the sake of power and control to be able to see someone so uncomfortable.”
Helena Konibier, chief executive of the Alcohol Education Trust, said surveys show there has been an increase between 11% to 15% of women and between 6% to 7% of men.
The organization’s own research has found that it also occurs in less obvious places than clubs and bars, such as fast food outlets and cafes, with the largest proportion occurring at private parties.
She added: “It can be any drink, almost any place, and it can happen to any person … we can all suffer.”
People may be reluctant to report spiking, she said, adding that “shame and social embarrassment surfaced very, very strongly.
“Memory loss, blank space and not being able to really remember what happened and the trauma that leads to a time lag before someone is ready to report it is also a major obstacle.”
Don Dines, chief executive of Stamp Out Spiking Group, told lawmakers that it’s not just alcoholic beverages that cause pungency.
She cited the example of a 13-year-old girl who died after drinking from a Lucozade bottle laced with MDMA.