Four student pals all collapse on same night out amid mass spiking fears

Four friends all collapsed and were rushed to hospital after a night out drinking in a pub, sparking fears of a mass spiking incident.

Ella Shields, 20, was at Bierkeller in Liverpool with pals Ellie, Anna and Meg on Saturday, March 19.

The group had been there for around four hours before one of the girls, who had actually drunk less than the others, collapsed in the toilet and had to be carried outside.

An hour later music student Ella felt her own legs go and passed out, waking after some time to the sound of strangers' voices in an ambulance and the feeling of a prick in her finger, reports the Liverpool Echo.

North West Ambulance Service confirmed three ambulances and two response vehicles attended the scene following a call at 7.22pm asking for medical attention, with four patients taken to Royal Liverpool Hospital.

Ella and her friends suspect they were spiked because they recognised the sensation from when they were spiked a year before.

According to Drink Aware, loss of balance is a symptom of spiking, along with feeling sleepy, visual problems, confusion, nausea and loss of consciousness.

The second year student, originally from Wilmslow, Cheshire, said: "When you're drunk, your body and your mind are kind of in the same place. You'll be really clumsy and you might not have control of your body, but your mind will also be like that too. You'll be really giggly and your vision will be blurred.

"Whereas [with spiking], it's like you know know what is going on. You lose control of your legs, but in your head, you still know that you're fine. That's what set me off where I was thinking, 'Okay, no, something's wrong here'."

She said victim-blaming is also a problem, telling the Liverpool Echo: "When you tell people about it, they say, 'next time you go out, just be careful', but we're so careful now, especially after the first time.

"We always go to the toilet in pairs, we never leave drinks alone, we always make sure we watch our drinks.

"So it's kind of like, what do you want me to do in life? Never drink outside the house ever again?"

Ella said the first time they were spiked, at a different venue, staff thought they were just drunk or on drugs.

She was worried they wouldn't be believed this time either, particularly as students, but the Bierkeller staff "handled it really, really well", offering them water, keeping them warm and making sure their breathing was okay.

A spokesperson for Bierkeller Liverpool said: "Most importantly, we are just so glad the patrons in question have made a full recovery. Our customer safety & experience is always our top priority. Training and policies relating to drink interference are in place for all staff members working in our venue.

"We have been working closely with local authorities to investigate the incident on Saturday. So far there is no evidence of drink interference. We will continue to fully cooperate with local authorities. Again we are just so happy our customers made a full recovery."

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