Cases of 'needle spiking' are on the rise. / SUR

Junta draws up protocol for 'needle spiking' attacks on women at nightclubs

Sixteen possible cases are being investigated in Andalucía, three of them in Malaga province, but none has been confirmed

I. GELIBTER MALAGA.

The Junta de Andalucía has decided to take action amid the growing concerns surrounding "needle spiking" attacks on women in nightclubs. While none of the 16 suspected cases has been confirmed, the Andalusian Health Service (SAS) is investigating at least three cases in the province of Malaga.

In addition to the cases in Malaga, in the early hours of Monday morning four girls reported having been pricked in the arm in a nightclub in El Puerto de Santa María (Cadiz), while the National Police are investigating several possible attempts at chemical submission during the Feria de San Francisco in Lucena (Cordoba) last weekend.

Loles López, Andalusian Minister for Social Inclusion, Youth, Families and Equality, said, "If anyone thinks they may have been spiked, or are being spiked at any time, they should go straight to a health centre and report it. That is vital." In order to assess whether the punctures contained any chemical substance, a blood test is needed which is sent to the National Institute of Toxicology for analysis.

The nightclub association in Malaga is proposing its own action protocol to protect suspected victims: at least one employee will stay with them until police officers arrive. However they don't consider a state of alarm is justified at present and they won't be carrying out searches on the door as is being discussed in Catalonia, where more cases have been reported.