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Public awareness campaign on drink and needle related spiking needed in light of 147 incidents in last two years – Madigan

17th November 2022 - Josepha Madigan TD

A public awareness campaign on spiking is needed in light of 147 reported incidents of drink and needle related spiking since January 2021, a Fine Gael Minister has said.

Dublin Rathdown TD, Josepha Madigan, has welcomed the Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana’s collation of data on reported incidents to better inform policy discussion.

Minister Madigan said, “The psychological and physical effects that spiking can have on someone, particularly young women, is immeasurable. I don’t think there’s many of us who haven’t heard a story of someone who has been spiked and these are usually young women.

“The latter months of the year are filled with many festivities with Christmas and New Year’s celebrations crammed into a few weeks. An information campaign could encourage vigilance among people working in the night life industry, An Garda Siochana, and the general public, of the dangers and the signs of spiking.

“In 2021, Minister Helen McEntee and Minister Simon Harris launched an awareness campaign on the issue with representatives from the Union of Students of Ireland.

“Spiking someone’s drink, or by needle, is in effect poisoning, and are criminal offences under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 which can result in a three-year prison term.

“An annual public awareness campaign will help raise awareness of the offence, but also the punishment that is carried with it.

“Of the 147 reported incidents of drink and needle related spiking since January 2021, 60 were needle related while 66 were drink related. 21 of the reported incidents were unspecified.

“It is particularly worrying to see the amount of needle related spiking incidents that have been reported over the last 18 months. Somebody who carries a needle with them into a public establishment with the intention of spiking and causing harm to someone should be heavily sentenced if found guilty.

“We need to continue the good work of Ministers McEntee and Harris in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, the USI, and other stakeholders by working towards annual public awareness campaigns to deter incidents of drink and needle related spiking,” concluded Minister Madigan.

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