Sexual abuse

Needle spiking arrives in Ibiza

18-year-old claims to have been a victim of this widespread phenomenon in other European countries, where victims are unwittingly injected with drugs

Alba Tarragó
2 min
A discotheque in a file image

PalmaThe United Kingdom, Switzerland, France and now Ibiza. The wave of sexual abuse of girls who have been drugged by an injection at a club has arrived in the Balearic Islands, just at the beginning of the tourist season. An 18-year-old Spaniard who was on an end-of-year trip in Sant Antoni reported to the Guardia Civil that in the early morning of June 22, while she was partying in a club, she had been drugged against her will. In the evening she began to act strangely, according to friends who were with her, and the next day she woke up with a bruise on her arm and no memory of the previous night. The young woman went to a health centre, where the doctor confirmed that she had been pricked in the arm, but they could not prove if she had been injected with any substance, since "too much time had passed for a proper analysis", according to Guardia Civil sources.

This phenomenon has long become a problem in France. The number of complaints lodged by nightclub-goers rose to nearly 300 between the end of March and June, but the figure has been rising steadily. According to local media, during the Fête de la Musique –an event celebrated in France every June 21– the police identified nine people suspected of having spiked others with injections. The victims relate these events to specific symptoms –dizziness, nausea and discomfort– but the contents of the injections are still unknown. Only in some cases has the presence of GHB, a psychotropic, been detected.

This practice has its precedent in the United Kingdom, although isolated cases have also occurred in Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. British police reported in late January that they had received more than 1,300 complaints since September 2021 for 'needle spiking' or 'injection spiking', most of whose victims were young girls who had been subjected to sedative drugs. The consequences include amnesia, which is common among the substances used in cases of chemical submission, i.e. drug-facilitated rape. However, cases of sexual assault or robbery linked to needle spiking have rarely been reported.

First case

In the case of the young woman who reported having been needle spiked in Ibiza, the Guardia Civil also denies that she suffered any sexual abuse, although they attribute this to the fact that "she was with friends all through the night". Police sources say that this is the first time they have seen such a case in the Balearic Islands and that, therefore, they remain "vigilant in case a new complaint arises or it happens again". In any case, they admit that "it is complicated to find the perpetrator" in cases like this, since it is very difficult for the victim to know who he is and identify him.

In view of this, the forensic doctor of the Balearic Islands' Institute of Legal Medicine, Borja Moreno, insists that in these situations it is necessary to ask medical staff for a urine or blood analysis within the first 48 hours to know what substance was injected. But Moreno points out that intramuscular injection is "not very effective", since it takes longer to take effect and that the "quickest –and most common– ways to drug someone are through drinking, snorting or intravenously". Be that as it may, the forensic scientist admits that "all these new methods tend to come out of Ibiza" and does not rule out that we may be facing a new kind of chemical submission.