Is that little drink what you think?
Adrian Mather

KATIE POCOCK was enjoying a night with friends when a guy started to chat her up. He offered to buy the 27-year- old a drink.

There's nothing too sinister about the scenario. It happens countless times in pubs and clubs.

Yet for Katie, it was a wake-up call. "Iwas in the Prive Council nightclub in Hanover Street with a few friends and we'd had a couple of drinks," she recalls. "But most of us weren't in the mood for getting drunk at all.

"I was sitting down and talking to a girl I knew when these two guys started trying to chat us up. They were quite nice but we weren't really up for it, so I kept telling them to get lost. But they were really persistent and I eventually accepted a Jack Daniel's and coke from one of them.

"It tasted a bit strange but I didn't think too much about it until I was standing at the bar later on. I didn't feel right and my friends started telling me that I looked really drunk. I wasn't in control and couldn't understand what was happening."

She adds: "Our group left the club and we were sitting at a bus stop when I suddenly realised I was kissing the guy who had bought me the drink. But there's absolutely no way I would have been in that state from three or four drinks. That's when my friends realised I'd probably had my drink spiked."

Katie, an office receptionist in Edinburgh, admits that she was lucky, as her friends saw that she was acting out of character and took her home. But she adds: "I felt very sick that night and there were a few moments that I can remember absolutely nothing about. Anything could have happened if I'd been left alone with that guy and I would never have known, but thankfully I had people looking out for me.

"I didn't get the chance to report it at the time and I didn't see what anyone could have done about it anyway because I didn't know who the guy was."

Of course Katie doesn't know for sure that her drink was spiked or what with - and that's the real problem.

It takes just a split second for an unguarded drink in a pub, club or party to be spiked with drugs such as Rohypnol, GHB or Ketamine - which can lead to victims losing total control of their actions, blackouts and memory loss - and just a matter of hours for the substance to be out of their body.

Mrs Robertson knows what having your drink spiked feels like. The 22- year-old barmaid had the experience at a Hogmanay party three years ago.

After taking to the dancefloor at The Waiting Room in Morningside with friends, she returned to drink her half-finished pint and quickly took a turn for the worse. "I wasn't drunk at all and was fine before I finished that drink." she says. "But after a few minutes I started to feel terrible and wasn't in control of myself at all.

"The last thing I remember is seeing a friend by the bar before I woke up three hours later by a deserted railway line. I have no idea how I got there - but somehow I'd got over a 6ft fence.

"I didn't know if I'd been raped or if I'd just wondered off."

Despite the current rise in publicity surrounding drink spiking, charities and police admit that under-reporting by victims who may not remember what has happened to them or who are unsure if an assault has taken place is a major problem.

Graduate dies after liquid ecstasy 'accident'
Thursday 26th October 2006
Peter Law

A UNIVERSITY graduate has died after she drank from a water bottle which police believe contained a date rape drug.

Rute Marques collapsed at a flat in Parry Street, Kennington, in south London, after she had a severe reaction to drinking from the clear plastic bottle.

An ambulance arrived shortly after 2:15pm on October 17, and rushed the Portugese-born student to St Thomas' Hospital.

She died at 8pm the following day without regaining consciousness.

The drug, which is diluted with water and referred to as GHB, liquid ecstasy or fantasy, is popular with clubbers.

At low doses it's a recreational drug and can cause a state of euphoria.

Higher doses can induce nausea and dizziness, if mixed with alcohol or another drug it can be fatal.

As a drug it is used most commonly in the form of a salt, which has a salty, chemical taste.

The 22-year-old had just completed a degree in catering management at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich.

Detective Inspector Keith Richardson said: "It appears that Miss Marques suffered a severe reaction to what suspected to be GHB contained in a clear plastic water bottle.
"We are speaking to all those who may have been at the flat in Hilden House in the days leading up to the incident.
"I would appeal to anyone who has not yet spoken to police, to come forward."
There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

A post mortem took place on Friday at Greenwich Mortuary, but police await the results of further tests.

Her brother, Hugo Marques, said that on the morning of her death she had been making plans for the family to be together at Norwich for her graduation ceremony.

"She was an independent young woman with thousands of friends and all her life in front of her." he said.

"Once her course was finished, she moved to London to share a flat with friends and after a few temporary jobs, she had just got the job as a hotel manager and was really happy that her plans were going well.

"She was always so responsible and we were confident she could look after herself. To hear of her death through what seems a tragic accident is very hard to bear.

"I did not think I would be visiting her bedside instead as she struggled to hang on to the life she had always enjoyed to the full."

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