NNUH anti-spiking campaign extended across Norfolk towns

An Anti-Spiking Campaign pilot launched by NNUH Specialist Biomedical Scientist Michelle Frost in Norwich has been rolled out further across the region, with kits now also available in venues in Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.

The Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner has funded the kits, which are now available in   Britannia Pier, The Empire, Empire Lounge, Peggotty’s and Uptown Bar all in Great Yarmouth, and the Ocean Rooms in Gorleston.

The SOS bus in King’s Lynn also now holds the kits, and after a meeting in King’s Lynn, a further 12 venues have also signed up to have the kits. This is in addition to the 17 venues and the SOS bus in Norwich holding the kits, allowing the initiative to cover a wide area to keep people safer over the spring and summer period. 

It is believed that the spiking of drinks – adding drugs or substances to a person’s drink – or injecting them without their prior knowledge or agreement, has become more prevalent across the country, with a number of incidents reported in Norwich and the whole of the UK.

The aim of the Anti-Spiking Campaign was to raise awareness that it is a criminal offence to spike drinks or inject someone without their knowledge or consent, and to gather data on what substances are being used.

The Biomedical Science team continues to gather data on how prevalent the problem is, as well as supporting emergency and urgent health care workers to treat people more effectively and support them when they feared they may have fallen victim to this activity.

Michelle said: “This really is now starting to take off with more venues coming on board. It means we can make sure that people going out can feel safe and we can really start to find out the true extent of this problem.

“The pilot exceeded our expectations. Pre-pilot reported spiking incidents were at an all-time high, but since the implementation of the campaign, reports in incidents have dropped. This is great for public reassurance, and it may mean those performing the acts of spiking have been deterred. We are also gathering some really important data of the substances in use, which has never been collected in such a way before”.

She added: “I would like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioners office for its support in funding the kits. This allows us to offer them in venues across more towns in Norfolk and Waveney. I would also like to thank the venues for holding the kits, as without their input, the service would not be able to be offered.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie said: “People should be able to go out and enjoy their evenings, safe from the fear of being assaulted. We absolutely want anyone who becomes a victim of spiking assault to report it to the police and these kits are a really helpful way for someone to take action to confirm whether they have been spiked, and what with. By funding this programme, I hope that we are able to help provide some reassurance to those who may be concerned but also to support the police in their work in understanding the true extent and nature of these offences.”
The high-profile campaign has seen Michelle and the NNUH Biomedical Science lab team join forces with the Police, the SOS wellbeing bus, and selected clubs and bars to offer anti-spiking kits, so anyone who thinks they, or a friend, has been spiked, can ask at the bar for a kit to provide a urine or drink sample, or a skin swab, which is submitted to the NNUH lab for full toxicology screening for in excess of 1600 substances.

Michelle said: “The more people who know about the service, the more people we can help, and the more we can find out about the true prevalence of spiking. To help with this we have created a website where people can go to find out more information –  www.antispiking.org.

We are also going to schools and colleges to educate people on the issues surrounding spiking.”

Norfolk Constabulary Chief Inspector Ed Brown said: “We are pleased that this initiative has been successfully rolled out across other areas of the county.

“We have seen just how successful this innovative pilot scheme has been in Norwich, and the reassurance it has given to those who not only believe they may have been spiked, but to those who may be anxious about going out in the night-time economy.

“We continue to work with pubs, clubs and bars to raise awareness of these types of incidents and what actions to take when a member of the public feels that they may have been spiked.

“We would always encourage victims to report the matter to police. Those who believe they have been spiked can take action, in the first instance, by using one of these kits.”


Notes to editors

  • Notes to editors – 37 venues across Norfolk and Waveney now hold the kits
  • Education around spiking incidences being delivered to schools and colleges the Norfolk and Waveney area
  • Over 150 incidences across Norfolk since the beginning of October 2021
  • Kits provide an inexpensive way of identifying the compounds a person has in their system, and could reduce the number of admissions to ED
  • Significant drop in ‘spiking’ samples coming into the NNUH Toxicology department through the previous channels as compared to pre-campaign figures.
  • SOS bus funding secured partly due to the kits https://planetradio.co.uk/greatest-hits/norfolk/news/sos-bus-norwich-here-to-stay/

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