Across France, more than 300 people have reported that in recent months they have been stabbed in nightclubs or concerts. Doctors and several prosecutors are in the case, but no one knows who is doing it or why, or whether the victims have been injected with drugs; or in fact any substance.
Club owners and police are trying to raise awareness and a rapper even interrupted his recent show to warn concertgoers of the risk of surprise needle attacks.
It’s not just France: the British government is studying a wave of “needle points” there, and police in Belgium and the Netherlands are also investigating scattered cases.
On May 4, 18-year-old Tomas Laux attended a rap concert in Lille, northern France, where he smoked some marijuana and drank some alcohol during the show. When he got home, he told her The Associated Presshe felt dizzy and had a headache, and saw a small strange sting in the skin on his arm and a bruise.
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The next morning, the symptoms did not go away and Laux went to his doctor, who advised him to go to the emergency room. Doctors confirmed evidence of a needle puncture and Laux was tested for HIV and hepatitis. Its results were negative, like those of other victims so far.
“I’ve stopped going to concerts since it happened,” Laux said.
Hundreds of miles away, Leanne Desnos recounted a similar experience after going to a club in the southwestern city of Bordeaux in April. Desnos, also 18, fainted the next day, felt dizzy and suffocated while in a fast food restaurant. When he got home, he noticed that he had an injection mark on his arm. After seeing a testimonial on social media about the mysterious spikes, he went to a clinic to get tested for infections. She is still waiting for results.
People in Paris, Toulouse, Nantes, Nancy, Rennes and other cities in France have reported being stabbed without their knowledge or permission. Target people, who are mostly women, show visible injection marks, often bruises, and report symptoms such as feeling dizzy.
The French national police agency says 302 people have filed formal complaints about these needle punctures. There are several ongoing police investigations in different regions, but no suspects have been arrested yet, no need has been found and the reason is still unclear.
No victims have reported sexual assault; one said he was robbed in Grenoble in April, according to Le Monde newspaper.
Two people tested positive for GHB and may have ingested the drug in a drink, according to a National Police agency official. GHB, a powerful anesthetic used by predators seeking to sexually abuse or assault victims, can only be detected in the urine for 12 hours, the police official said.
The officer and a doctor who is taking a prominent role in dealing with the phenomenon expressed doubt that the nightclub punctures contained GHB, and noted that to penetrate through a needle, the drug s ‘must inject for a few seconds, which most victims would notice.
“We have not found any drugs or substances or objective evidence to prove … the administration of a substance with illicit or criminal intent. What we fear most is that people will contract HIV, hepatitis or any infectious disease. by the blows, ”said Dr. Emmanuel Puskarczyk, head of the poison control center in the city of Nancy in eastern France.
A special procedure has been set up at Nancy Hospital to optimize care for victims. Patients with symptoms such as dizziness are treated, and blood and urine samples are stored for five days in case anyone wants to report it.
“It simply came to our notice then. We see signs of injection, but some people have no symptoms. When potential victims have symptoms such as malaise or black holes (in their memory), they are not specific, “Puskarczyk said.
The police officer, who was not allowed to be publicly appointed under the policy of the national police, said: “At this stage, we cannot speak of a specific modus operandi. There are no similarities between the cases. It’s similar that people are injected with a needle in a festive context in different parts of France.
With club attendees expressing fear on social media and media coverage fueling anxiety, the French Interior Ministry launched a national awareness campaign this month. Police are handing out leaflets to clubbers and discussing precautionary measures with club owners.
In the UK, Parliament issued a report in April on the consumption of drinks and needles in pubs and nightclubs following a sudden rise in such incidents last year. He said police reported about 1,000 cases of needle injection across the country around October 2021, when a large number of students returned to campus after coronavirus restrictions were lifted. cut down.
However, the Parliament report said that there was a lack of data to judge the seriousness of the problem. It is unclear whether anyone has been prosecuted for stabbing or how many victims have been injected with a drug or other substance.
“No one knows the prevalence of crossbreeding, whether by drinking, drugs or needles, and no one knows what makes the perpetrators do it. Anecdotal evidence suggests the practice is widespread and dangerous,” he said.
A series of similar incidents have been reported in neighboring Belgium with people punctured with needles in nightclubs, a football match and during the Belgian Pride parade. Last month, the Brussels prosecutor’s office opened two investigations following allegations by women that they had been nailed during the pride parade in central Brussels. Organizers of the march said in a statement that they had been informed of several cases and urged potential victims to be checked in hospitals.
Back in France, as investigations continue to find no perpetrators, rapper Dinos interrupted his concert in Strasbourg this week to warn his fans of the risks and insisted: “This must be stopped.”