On the night of January 17, 2020, Mia Doshi Prichard’s life changed forever. She intended to remember it as another night spent dancing and having fun with her friends. But the evening ended up being so traumatic that, two years later, he still doesn’t go out at night.
Mia has had drugs added to her drink, a practice which, according to a recent report by the Home Affairs Committee – a group of parliamentarians in the UK – can have long-term consequences, with “lasting repercussions on the lives of the victims”.
“In the months that followed, I had panic attacks“, the 21-year-old told the radio show through tears News from the BBC.
“I’m still very paranoid and in the back of my mind I think something bad is going to happen.” Tampering with drinks is such a widespread phenomenon that in English it has its own term: picking up drinks.
It occurs all over the world, mainly in public places and at parties, and especially to the detriment of young women, often to commit theft or sexual abuse. Already in 2010, the UN warned of the alarming increase in calls “rape drugs” and the appearance of new substances.
According to official data from the Office for National Statistics, in England and Wales there have been 120 deaths linked to GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) between 2014 and 2018.
In Latin America, this substance has become in recent years one of the new silent drugs that replace burundanga. The World Health Organization (WHO) says international controls for the GHB trade are minimal.
But what happens to the victims of this type of situation? The BBC spoke to three young people about their experiences and the trauma of being drugged against their will.
“I had panic attacks”
Mia is originally from Leicester but studies in York in the North East of England.
He remembers that the night the accident happened, he drank the same amount as his friends, but she was the only one who felt “disoriented”.
“I put the glass down and turned around for a minute to dance with friends.”
That’s when she believes the poisonous substance was put in her drink.
can only remember fragments of this nightthings like “collapse outside the bathroom” and “grab onto a railing” to get up, nothing I had ever experienced before.
Mia believes that being drugged in this way “can psychologically alter people for a long time”.
Since that night, he tried to go out with friends again, but it was too difficult.
“For a while I went into this state [de tener ataques de pánico] And I was even angrier because I was ruining my friends’ experience by being so nervous.”
“I will never accept a drink from a stranger again”
Saskia Boissevain remained “very upset” and felt “vulnerable for a while”. She is much more wary of strangers now.
She describes having “totally and completely lost her memory” after apparently being offered an enriched drink in September 2021.
The 30-year-old Londoner had gone out with a friend and, after two men offer them a drinkThey were “totally out of control”.
“The next morning I woke up and was lying on the bathroom floor, alone in my apartment, and I had absolutely no memory of anything other than walking to the bar. And drink this glass.”
Saskia now pays more attention to the people around her and where her drinks are.
“It’s not necessarily fear, but I’m definitely more cautious and I’ll never accept a drink from someone I don’t know again.”.
It also limits how much you drink based on “where and with whom I am”.
“I feel more comfortable when I go out with my fiancé, which is ugly to say. But I definitely wouldn’t drink too much if I was alone with one or two other friends.”
“I lost confidence and faith”
Niamh Donnelly was at a house with friends a month ago, getting ready to go out for the night, when she says she was drugged.
“I’m finished unconscious in front of my house. People on the street had to help me get home, it’s hard to deal with.”
She was so scared by what had happened that she left Nottingham University and returned home to Birmingham, where she has remained ever since.
Niamh, 21, says she feels “very weird” when she thinks about going out at night and has lost “trust and faith” in those she thinks would keep her safe.
“As a woman, it’s very important that you and your friends go out and feel safe, and that the people around you make sure you are.
“Going out is dangerous. It really touched me a lot.
“It made me extremely cautious and I wouldn’t share my drinks with anyone.
“If I go out again, I’m going to be watching myself and the people around me very closely, more than I ever would have before.”