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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 November, 2003, 14:08 GMT
Concern over spiked drinks
drinks generic
Drinks have been spiked with other alcohol or drugs
Rape crisis workers in Cumbria say they are concerned about the number of drinks being spiked in pubs and nightclubs.

Cumbria Police says it receives up to seven reports a month from people who believe their drinks may have been spiked.

The force is working to raise awareness about the issues.

Sharon Hawkins from West Cumbria Rape Crisis said the number of people contacting them about so called "date rape", where victims believe their drinks have been spiked, had increased significantly.

"About two years ago we had our first call relating to this problem.

"Since then it has been a steady increase to an extent where we have had over an 18 month period well in excess of 25 to 30 calls relating to this."

She said they had received calls from men as well as women and there are many substances that could be used to spike drinks including alcohol, tranquilisers and the drug GHB.

Appropriate measures

She said they do not call it date rape, because they feel it lessens the impact of the crime and implies an intimate relationship which is not there, but use the term drug-assisted rape.

She said: "When you are going out look after each other.

"Be aware of each other's behaviour and if something is acting a bit strangely do not assume that they are drunk. Make sure they are safe and they get home safely."

A Cumbria Police spokesman said it was making people aware not just now but in the run up to Christmas.

He said "A lot of people who drink do take appropriate measures to protect their drinks.

"They should certainly not let their drinks out of their sight, not accept drinks from strangers and another measure is to drink out of bottles."




SEE ALSO:
Sniffer dogs track drugs
04 Nov 03  |  Southern Counties
Alcohol 'main date rape drug'
08 Jul 03  |  Northern Ireland


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