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The Power of the Media: Debunking the Myths of Injection Spiking

Libbie Nicklin

September 2021 saw the first case of injection spiking in the UK, with 56 confirmed incidents of spiking via injection being recorded in September and October. This new spiking method caused increased feelings of anxiety for many, who were concerned about going to nightlife settings in case they were the next victim. The appearance of injection spiking was recorded extensively on the news and across other media outlets, but has since had very little coverage. Whilst there hasn’t been any media coverage with recent figures, which could be due to a lack of reporting, continued discourse should be created to continue raising awareness in case of another surge.

The increase of injection spiking is particularly difficult for victims of sexual violence to hear, as it can trigger unwanted feelings, thoughts or flashbacks to their own experience(s). Whilst the media was important in raising awareness, it included some false information, therefore producing more feelings of anxiety. Because of this, the aim of this blog is to debunk some myths associated with injection spiking and display how the media was responsible for producing false information.

1) People are dying because of injection spiking – a Brighton instagram page claimed someone had died because of injection spiking, however, this was confirmed by police to be false. Some victims have been taken to hospital, but none were life threatening situations.

2) The injections pass on HIV – misinformation was spread on social media that not only are people being spiked by injection, but some are contracting HIV too. Two police departments confirmed that this is false information, and the British AIDS Charity said while it is technically possible to contract HIV via injection, it is “extremely rare”.

3) Victims are only women – whilst many of those who reported identify as women, men and non-binary individuals have also been victim to injection spiking. Many media outlets have claimed that women are the only victims, which not only increases feelings of anxiety in women, but aids the victimisation of women and the image of a ‘helpless’ woman as victim.

This post has debunked some myths regarding injection spiking in the UK, and was aimed toward survivors who may have experienced unwanted feelings as a result of the situation, as well as putting any concerns at rest. It also displayed the media’s power in producing false information. If you’d like to talk about your experience or have any concerns regarding the topic of this blog, or sexual violence more generally, contact the Say It Loud Team (Support Mentors operate Monday – Friday 5-8pm and bi-weekly Sundays 9-11am UK time).


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