A student was left unable to speak after she was spiked on a night out with her “uni dad”.
Anna Stephen had had four drinks before reaching a club in Edinburgh with a group of boys from the year above, who were known as the freshers’ dads as part of the uni’s buddy system.
Having been drinking for several years, the now 32-year-old knew her limits and was fully in control all night until she got out of the taxi by the venue.
Thinking she’d had too much to drink, the bouncer blocked Anna from going inside and told her to go and drink some water.
After staggering to Tesco to get some water and slumping on the floor, the student managed to stagger home to her friend’s house.
There she lay on the floor for hours, unable to talk and vomiting relentlessly.
While Anna was physically unharmed by whoever drugged her, the experience has shaken her deeply.
She’s unsure who specifically spiked her, leading her to completely remove herself from the friendship group.
“The worst things about this whole experience was that I was unable to speak for most of it and didn’t feel in control of my body at all, but I remember everything so clearly,” she told The Mirror.
“I’ve been spiked since, a couple of years ago in Ibiza, and the experience was the same.
“It makes me sick because it’s so frightening and would be so if someone was attacked in this state too.
“You’d be unable to do anything to try and stop it.”
Anna is one of the many people who are bravely coming forward to share their experience of being spiked, following alarming reports that nightlife predators are using needles to inject drugs into victims.
Tammy Kendall is another woman whose been targeted in Edinburgh clubs – not just once, but three times, in three different venues.
On one occasion she was out with her dad when she suddenly started feeling really unwell.
The 22-year-old blacked out and has no memory of the night. When she awoke the next day, friends told her she’d been so sick and delirious, she kept saying she wanted to kill herself.
On another occasion she was kicked out of a club by a bouncer who thought she was too drunk, leaving Tammy to pass out on the street outside.
During the third she was relentlessly sick.
“It was the worst things I have ever experienced,” she recalled.
“I couldn’t remember where I was, the date or who I was with.
“I couldn’t remember how I got home, I was being violently sick and I was spewing blood.”
Tammy and Anna are just two of dozens of people who have shared their experiences of being spiked in Edinburgh on a single Instagram post.
The alarming length of the thread, and the distressing details of many of the comments, hints at how large a problem spiking is in the UK.
Figures obtained by the BBC show that there were 26,000 reported incidents in England and Wales since 2015.
Many incidents of drink spiking go unreported because people are unaware they’ve fallen victim to it, meaning the true number is likely much higher.
What to do about such a common place yet upsetting issue is difficult.
In the past week calls to increase security at bars and clubs have gained traction, yet some argue searches are easy to evade and may further discriminate against the already marginalised.
Calls for women to take additional preventative measures have been knocked back by those who argue it should not be the victim’s responsibility to foil perpetrators.
Anna believes that the onus to protect victims lies in numerous places.
“I know it’s a big ask, but the clubs and pubs also have a responsibility towards the public as per licensing to make sure they are safe,” she said.
“I also think we as the public can do more to help. Like the amount of people who just walk past people who’re struggling or those who are too embarrassed to ask if they need help.
“We need to start being more forward thinking as a society and not be scared to ask someone if they are okay.”