Lancaster students call for nightclub action amid drink spike fears
Students in Lancaster are calling on nightclubs to be more responsible amid national fears that drink spiking is on the increase.
An Instagram page called Girls Night In Lancaster has launched a petition in the wake of concerns nationally in recent weeks.
The petition calls for action to be taken by nighclubs to prevent drink spiking by increasing security at the entrance to nightclubs, having free drinks protection devices available, and by providing medical centres and a safe way for people to get home.
They said the page had been set up because: "Spiking has become an epidemic. Never before have we heard of so many students waking up with no memory of what had happened the night before.
"This is not getting 'black-out drunk', this is getting drugged and is something that can be changed.
"We are asking clubs and bars to increase their entry security, provide free drink protection devices, and provide a clear and obvious medical centre and a safe way to get home."
The petition says there is a 'new method' of spiking in which the perpetrator injects their victim with the drug as opposed to doing it via their drinks. There have already been reports of this in other parts of the UK.
"This is very dangerous, not only to safety but also long term health," they said. "Contaminated needles could expose victims to lifelong and life-changing diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. This should not be allowed to happen in a place where people are supposed to feel safe and should be having fun."
Around 130,000 people have signed a national petition calling on the government to pass legislation making it a requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests in entry.
As well as setting up their own petition, Girls Night In Lancaster are also asking people to join a planned nationwide boycott of nightclubs on October 27 to raise further awareness.
"This should not be allowed to happen in a place where people are supposed to feel safe and should be having fun," they added.
The Sugarhouse nightclub has responded to the students' concerns.
In a statement they said they have briefed all staff to be aware of the current situation.
"The safety of our customers is our highest priority and if we need to review any of our extensive safety measures to take account of it we will do so," they said.
"The Sugarhouse takes student welfare seriouslyand is proud to lead the way on welfare. We currently have several policies and procedures in order to counter spiking in our venue, and several things in place to help anyone who may feel unwell.
"We have a dedicated welfare room, fully stocked with first aid provisions, sofa, blankets and a coffee machine.
"We have a dedicated SIA licensed FGH welfare supervisor working every night we are open, they wear a purple hi-vis jacket and will help anyone needing support. They are fully first aid trained.
"We offer free spikeys, drink testing kits and will soon have 'stoptopps' which are foil covers for standard glasses.
"We have signage around the venue encouraging customers to look after their drinks, and a warning that drink spiking will not be tolerated.
"We have extensive high quality CCTV covering the full venue, including all bars.
"Staff are trained to collect unattended glasses and be alert to suspicious behaviour at the venue and around the bars.
"Door supervisors will be alert for suspicious behaviour and are trained to look after customers who are unwell, the majority of our core team are first aid trained as well as managers.
"On busy nights we run the 'late night do it right' stand outside the venue, offering a friendly face for a chat, free water and biscuits.
"We search all large bags on entry and peform random checks throughout the night; we are currently discussing what more we can do to ensure no weapons are brought into the venue.
"Should anyone be discovered to be spiking drinks wuith alcohol or drugs, they would be reported to the police, barred from the venue for life and also reported to the Deanery at the university."
The Lancaster petition can be found here.