Teenager ‘lucky to be alive’ after her drink was spiked with date-rape drug in Leicester club

A teenager says she feels “lucky to be alive” after her drink was spiked with a notorious date-rape drug while on a night out in Leicester.

Sophie Pearce, from Braunstone, woke up in Leicester Royal Infirmary on Sunday afternoon (AUG 8) to find herself attached to IV lines and a heart monitor, having suffered three seizures.

The 19-year-old, who is thankfully now recovering at home from her terrifying ordeal, has decided to share details of “the most frightening experience” of her life in a bid to warn other young people about the dangers of drink-spiking.

READ MORE: Horrific hospital video of girl, 18, suffering affects of sipping spiked drink

She had been on her “first proper night out” since turning 18 during the coronavirus pandemic and the reopening of nightclubs, with the easing of lockdown last month.

It transpires that the drug Sophie was spiked with in a city centre venue was ketamine – one of several so-called ‘club drugs’ due to their use at dance clubs, concerts and parties.

Known as Special K to users, the Class B drug is also a powerful anaesthetic used by vets that can prove fatal, especially if mixed with other drugs, including alcohol.

Because of effects such as confusion, delirium, muscle paralysis and loss of memory, it has also been used by sexual predators to target unsuspecting victims.

In a post on Facebook, Sophie said: “I went out on Saturday night to a nightclub where I had my drinks spiked, which resulted in me having three seizures and being in a really bad way.

“I had to be pumped with bags of fluids and linked up to heart monitors.

“Apparently, I was spiked with Ketamine and I’m honestly so lucky that the ambulance got to me in time.”

She added: “To everyone that thinks that these things won’t happen to them, just like I did, it DEFINITELY DOES!! So please don’t be fooled.

“Don’t leave your drinks, even for a split second. I held onto my drinks most of the night but obviously didn’t pay attention to people walking by. I honestly don’t get what people get out of doing this to others.”

Warning! - Sophie, now 19, had been on her 'first proper night out' since turning 18 during the coronavirus lockdown
Warning! – Sophie, now 19, had been on her ‘first proper night out’ since turning 18 during the coronavirus lockdown
(Image: Supplied)

Speaking to LeicestershireLive, Sophie said: “It was supposed to be the first proper night out I’ve had since turning 18 during the pandemic.

“My partner and I had actually planned to watch a film at home, but changed our minds at the last minute.

“Instead, we decided to go out to a club and meet some friends. It was also our first real night out together.”

Sophie said the pair arrived at the nightclub shortly before 11pm on Saturday night (AUG 7).

LeicestershireLive is not mentioning the club by name until we have given its management the right to reply.

The evening had started well for Sophie.

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“We were dancing and socialising, it was a good atmosphere,” she said. “

“I regard myself as quite a cautious person and, because it was so busy and the wait to get served at the bar was about half-an-hour, we only had a few drinks.

“I’m aware of girls getting their drinks spiked in clubs and its something that I was careful to avoid.

“It’s still all a bit hazy, but we were keeping our drinks close by – the only time I can think it could have happened was when I was hugging some friends I hadn’t seen for a long time since the lockdown.

“I suppose that’s all it takes – just a few seconds when you are momentarily distracted.”

At some point in the evening, Sophie said she began to feel a bit “woozy”.

“It was like that tipsy feeling you get after a few drinks,” she recalls.

“But I remember thinking I hadn’t had enough to be drunk.

“I do remember, about halfway through the night, one of my drinks tasting a bit odd, I can’t explain how. But I asked my girlfriend to have a sip and she thought it was okay.”

Most of the details about what happened next have come from Sophie’s partner, her mum Samantha Chant, paramedics and hospital staff.

Sophie had been dancing and socialising with friends at a city centre nightclub when someone spiked her drink with ketamine
Spiked – Sophie had been dancing and socialising with friends at a city centre nightclub when someone laced her drink with ketamine
(Image: Getty Images)

“That’s the scary thing,” she said. “Most of the night is a complete blank. Anything could have happened to me and I wouldn’t have known about it.

“Apparently, I called my mum before leaving the club at about 4am and she stayed on the phone with me as we got a taxi home.

“When I got there, that’s when I started having seizures and my mum called for an ambulance.

“Paramedics assessed me and took me straight to A&E at the Infirmary. My girlfriend also had a check-up. She also felt a bit ill but was okay.

“When I woke up on a hospital ward I was still pretty out of it. I didn’t really know what was going on – I still feel rough to be honest.

“It’s a strange feeling – I’ve never felt so tired.

“If it wasn’t for my mum staying up for me, I dread to think what could have happened. And my girlfriend and friends who looked after me. My mum was absolutely petrified.”

How to guard against spiked drinks and date-rape drugs

Spiking, where someone adds drugs or alcohol to another person’s drink without them knowing, is illegal. Whether it’s done as a prank or with the intent to steal from or assault the victim here are some ways to avoid this happening to you or your friends.

Never lose sight of your drink

It can take only minutes for someone to feel the effects of a spiked drink. Memory loss can be a side effect of many of the drugs used to spike drinks. Many victims are unaware of what has happened to them, and have very little memory of the incident, if any at all.

The best way to protect yourself and your friends from being spiked is to be aware of what you consume and never take a drink that you haven’t seen being prepared in front of you. Never leave your drink unattended, even for a moment, and if it doesn’t taste right, don’t finish it.

If you or your friends start to feel strange or unwell then you should get help and seek medical advice straight away.

Be vigilant if you’re drinking with strangers

When you go out for an evening you never know who you’re going to meet, so always keep your wits about you. If someone appears to be over-friendly and eager to get you to drink, be vigilant.

If you get separated from your friends in a bar, pub or club, let them know where you are. If you happen to meet new company and they ask you to go on somewhere else, introduce them to your friends and tell them where you’re going.

Be a drink buddy

If you’re out with a friend, or friends, keep an eye out for them. If they appear to be more drunk than you’d expect, dizzy or slurring their words, take control and make sure they’re okay. If you’re concerned, make sure they either get medical help or get home safely.

For further information about spiked drinks, visit Drink Aware.

Mum Samantha said: “We were all very scared for Sophie. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life to be honest.

“It’s the most horrific thing that I’ve ever seen. It was absolutely awful.

“I’m just so happy she is going to be okay, and glad that she somehow managed to call me and I was able to stay on the phone with her.

“I made sure she stayed outside the club with her friends and didn’t wander off somewhere.

“I don’t know what would have happened if she’d got separated from them – it really doesn’t bear thinking about.

“It just goes to show you can’t be too careful.”

Sophie woke up in Leicester Royal Infirmary attached to IV lines and a heart monitor
Sophie woke up in Leicester Royal Infirmary attached to IV lines and a heart monitor

The incident has been reported to Leicestershire Police.

Sophie said: “I’d like to think that whoever did this to me, it was a nasty but random thing and I wasn’t being targeted by a rapist.

“But you never know. That’s the scary thing.

“I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else and that’s why I wanted to share me story.

“I really do feel lucky to be alive. I feel if it could happen to me then it could happen to anyone, and I realise it could have been so much worse.

“I wished we’d just stayed in and watched that film now – I certainly won’t be going out for a while, and definitely won’t be going to that club again!”

Sophie concluded by thanking everyone – both strangers and friends – for their “kind messages of support”.

“It means a lot,” she said.

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Leicestershire Live – Leicester News