France: Mysterious wave of needle sticks at nightclubs and concerts continues

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Dozens of young people say they have received punctures in nightclubs, bars or at festivals in France that caused nausea, vertigo or severe pain, creating a climate of “psychosis”, a phenomenon that the authorities are investigating.

It happened again this weekend. This time it was in the southeast, with two confirmed cases in a Montpellier bar on Friday and this Sunday with a person leaving a nightclub and another five in a concert hall. They are added to some 60 episodes recorded by the police in Rennes and in Loire-Atlantique (west), in Hérault (south), Isère, in Haute-Garonne, in Dordogne (southwest).

The testimonies of young people who appear at police stations and hospitals speak of punctures, show the sting and describe discomfort.

Eloïse Cornut, a 21-year-old beautician, said she felt “cold sweats, nausea, chills and dizziness” one night when she returned from a bar in Nantes (west) in mid-April.

The next day, now better, one of her colleagues noted on her arm “a red dot surrounded by a blue one one centimeter in diameter.”

“I had a blood test … I still have to wait five weeks to get tested for HIV. That stresses me out a lot,” he said.

In Nantes, the authorities know of 45 events since mid-February. No evidence revealed the presence of drugs or other toxic substances, prosecutor Renaud Gaudeul said, adding that no suspects have been arrested.

Investigators await the results of toxicological analyzes of cases in other parts of France to see if the substance administered is the same.

The phenomenon worries the Ministry of the Interior, which has tweeted a preventive video to encourage victims to make the corresponding complaint.

Syringes or pins?

In Roanne (centre-east), an 18-year-old girl who requested anonymity says that a man touched her buttocks when she entered the bathroom of a nightclub. When she arrived at her house, a bruise was seen around a red dot.

The Roanne prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for “violence” and premeditated administration of a harmful substance, “while doctors administered preventive HIV treatment to the young woman.

Authorities also launched investigations following allegations of punctures at the opening of the music festival season at Printemps de Bourges.

“We don’t know if it’s about syringes or pins for example,” said Agnès Bonjean, director of the prefect’s office.

“You have to get tested”

“It was very painful,” according to Noemi, 23, touched on a thigh in mid-April at a club in Béziers (south).

Thirteen complaints were filed in Béziers, twelve of them on the night of April 17-18, prosecutor Raphaël Balland said.

The Paris prosecutor’s office assured that six investigations have been opened since last week in the capital.

The phenomenon is not new in Europe: in the UK, there was a wave of testimonies last fall of students drugged without their knowledge with injections in nightclubs.

Fred Bladou, in charge of the mission of the Aides Association against HIV, reminds that in case of receiving a puncture, blood tests must be done.

The president of the night branch of the main hotel and restaurant union, Thierry Fontaine, denounced an “unhealthy and perverse game” of mysterious aggressors who create a “psychosis” among young people.

With information from AFP and the French regional press

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France: Mysterious wave of needle sticks at nightclubs and concerts continues