European medical professionals are investigating an unexpected rise of needle attack cases at nightclub and concerts in the past few months. Nearly 300 people across France and Britain reported of being 'pricked out of the blue' with needles.
There have been cases reported in Belgium and Netherlands as well. In most cases, targeted individuals have been women who were pricked with a needle without their knowledge. The victims have visible marks of injection and experience grogginess, in some cases there have been bruises reported too.
The French national police agency has reported some 302 formal complaints about such needle pricks and announced investigations in various regions but till now no positive development has been observed.
According to the Associated Press, after observing a sudden rise in these attacks last year, the UK Parliament issued a report in April. As hundreds of students returned to their campus after Covid restrictions were lifted, the police reported about 1,000 cases of needle injection across the country in October 2021, the report mentioned.
Fortunately, there have been no reports of sexual assault against victims but a few have been tested positive for GHB. An anesthetic usually detected in the urine only for 12 hours after ingestion and is mostly found in sexual assault victims.
Medical professionals researching on GHB being the 'probable weapon' of the suspect, have ruled out the usage of the drug. Explaining the reason, they said that if the drug is spiked via needle it needs to be injected for several seconds, which most victims would definitely notice, AP reported.
Dr. Emmanuel Puskarczyk, head of the poison control center of the eastern French city of Nancy, is leading the research in investigating the drugs used in the rising cases. He revealed that no 'administration of substance with wrongful or criminal intent' has been found while examining the victims. The only thing to keep a lookout for are cases of HIV, hepatitis and any other infectious disease.
The victims appear to show different symptoms almost every time therefore, the Nancy hospital has created a special procedure to provide better care for the patients. Their blood and urine samples are also kept for at least 5 days in case they wish to press charges.
"Each case is different. We see injection marks, but some people don't have symptoms. When potential victims have symptoms like discomfort or black holes (in their memory), they are not specific," Puskarczyk said.
The lack of similarities in the reported cases have befuddled the police as well. "At this stage, we can't talk about a specific modus operandi. There aren't any similarities between the cases," an official said.
As the investigations continue and the culprit roams free, several club owners and police officials are attempting to raise awareness on these surprise attacks and have advised club goers to stay alert and immediately report to the authorities if they notice something suspicious.