A 23-year-old Northampton woman has spoken out about her 'frightening' ordeal where she became the latest victim of needle spiking in the town centre at the weekend.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was out with a group of friends in Wellingborough Road and Bridge Street on Saturday night (January 15), mainly visiting pubs.
At around 12.30am the woman took a bad turn, going from feeling 'slightly tipsy' to being 'drunker than she should have been'.
She said: "I'd not had a lot to drink, I was drinking water throughout the night, then, all of a sudden, I remember feeling drunker than I should have been and I needed support to walk.
"I don't remember anything after that."
The woman managed to get home safely, but the effects of the spiking worsened when she was in bed.
According to her boyfriend, who was the one who got her home safely, the woman struggled to breathe, was slurring her speech, was disorientated, had incontrollable muscle spasms in her legs and was unable to walk. This all lasted for hours until she finally fell asleep.
She said: "I was told I kept repeating 'something's not right' and 'I think I've been spiked', I don't remember saying it but clearly I knew I was not okay at the time."
The former NHS worker woke up the next day and found a needle puncture mark at the back of her left arm.
She said: "I was confused when I found out I was spiked. I woke up in my bed with no recollection of how I got there, no memory of the end of the night, it was like a hangover from hell - it was frightening.
"I've seen spiking stories on the news and thought I'd check my whole body for needle marks and found one.
"I felt sick, disgusted when I found it. You can picture it happening in your head which makes you think, 'where was I when it happened?', 'how did I not notice?'. I didn't feel a thing. It could have been anyone. It's just awful.
"It's an uncomfortable feeling, unnerving. Someone has gone out of their way, saw me, picked me and thought, 'yes, that one will do', for whatever intention they had in mind."
The woman rang her friends the next day and tried to piece the night together, but was left feeling 'scared', 'vulnerable' and 'uncomfortable' afterwards.
She said: "My friends said one minute I was fine and the next minute I couldn't stand up straight, they had to carry me, I don't like to think what would have happened if they weren't there.
"To have people tell you what happened, and you don't remember being like that, is not nice to listen to. I never drink to the point where I'm out of control, getting blackout drunk is not something that I've ever done.
"The way I see it, people spike you with malicious intentions. They spike you to rob you or rape you, making sure you're vulnerable first.
"It makes me feel vulnerable as a woman. It scares me. The fact that it still happened despite being with a group friends made me realise it does not matter to the culprit.
"I take precautions. I keep my drink on me at all times, I never take a drink from anyone, I don't drink something I have not seen being poured.
"Being a girl, we get taught to take all the precautions from a young age. You hear about this stuff all the time and the last thing you want is for it to happen to you."
The woman now says she has been left questioning what could have happened to her or anyone else in the same situation.
She said: "What if it wasn't me? What if it was someone else who was alone? What would happen to them? You go out to have a nice time out and a dance with your friends and instead end up being preyed on. It makes you feel cautious.
"I think there should be more precautions taken by clubs and pubs to stop this.
"I feel lucky and grateful my friends supported me. I feel lucky to have woken up in my own bed, safe."
The woman has since recovered and intends on reporting the incident to the police.
Incidents of drink and needle spiking have been an ongoing issue in Northampton town centre, and across the country, between September and December and it appears the crime is still happening into the New Year.