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The Sunday Mail
By tracey Gibbons, September 15 2002

Drink spike nightmare

A YOUNG mother who was taken to hospital after her drink was spiked at a Surfers Paradise nightclub has warned women to be vigilant.

"I can't remember leaving the club and can't even remember getting into a taxi," said the 29-year-old, who asked to be known only as Rochelle.

"Anything could have happened to me. You could have taken me anywhere and I wouldn't have known."
Drink spiking is a growing problem on the Gold Coast but Rochelle was having a night out with her husband, proving any woman can be a target.

Rochelle was with husband Joel and two other friends when the incident happened at the popular nightclub a fortnight ago.

The couple were celebrating Joel's first Father's Day after the birth of their daughter, Chelsea, 11 months ago.

All Rochelle remembers is finishing a drink and then feeling "really thirsty". Within 10 minutes she had vomited and was barely conscious.

"I vomited blood, so whatever they gave me must have ripped the lining of my stomach," she said. "I don't drink much, so it was really out of character for me to be like that."

Rochelle said as she became incoherent, three men approached her group.

"Joel said they came over to see what was going on but he told them to get out of my face and gave them a mouthful," she said. "I can remember them watching me all night."

Joel then bundled her into a taxi and took her home.

"Apparently the taxi had to stop on the way so that I could be sick again," she said.

When she arrived home in a semi-conscious state her mother Linda was horrified.

Linda said they put Rochelle in a bath to try to relax her but when the vomiting would not stop they called an ambulance.

Rochelle was taken to the Gold Coast Hospital where she had tests but the substance used to drug her could not be detected.

She said she remained violently ill for nearly a week.

Gold Coast Sexual Assault Support Service statistics reveal 79 women reported having their drinks spiked in the first six months of this year.

Service co-ordinator Di Macleod said the evidence showed that many women had endured "drug-facilitated rapes".

"It's a rape issue, but drugs and alcohol are the strategies rapists are using to render someone vulnerable," she said.




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