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Scots teen left slumped in cubicle after ‘spiking’ says legislation targeting predators must go further

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A Scots teen left unconscious on a pub floor after being allegedly spiked has welcomed changes that will see those preying on victims facing harsher sentences – but insists legislation needs to go further to tackle sales of the drugs.

In a breakthrough for spiking victims last week, the Home Office announced that GHB – the drug commonly used to spike drinks – has been reclassified as Class B along with GBL and 1,4-BD, meaning that those found in possession of them will face tougher penalties.

Those found in unlawful possession of spiking drugs now face sentences of up to five years behind bars, while those involved in supply and production will face up to 14 years in prison.

But Jess Insall, 19, who was left sick, unable to talk, and “paralysed” after she believes she was spiked on March 25, insists more action must be taken to crack down on the sales of spiking drugs, believing hurting those who make money from them will do more to tackle the crime.

Sellers of GBL accept payment in a number of ways including Bitcoin, Paypal and Stripe.

Accountant Jess, from Stirling, told the Record: “I am shocked at how easy it is to access GBL online. It’s technically an industrial cleaner but it converts to GHB within minutes.

“If you search for it you’ll see it’s been marketed for drugs rather than cleaning.

“It’s a revenue streamline for organised crime and as long as people can buy it is going to keep happening.

“More needs to be done to tackle those that are selling it in the first place.”

In a quick online search, The Record found a number of adverts showing GBL listed as “clear and odourless”, “can be used to improve sexual performance”, and “put people in a coma”.

Sellers are also happy to accept Bitcoin for purchases and can make sure it’s delivered in discreet packaging.

On a site called gblmagic.com, the drug is advertised as “colourless, water liquid, with a weak odour”. The product is the tagged with search engine phrases such as “GBL coma”, “Can you buy GBL?, “GBL drug”, and “GBL reddit”.

GBL colourless, liquid product advertised
GBL colourless, liquid product advertised

It is also being sold through Facebook. On gooddealchem.com GBL is marketed as improving “sexual performance and pleasure” and is described as a anaesthetic with a sedative quality.

Website megagblghb.com advertises the ‘spiking’ drugs clearly for consumption, describing GHB as substance to help people sleep.

GBL can be delivered in "various packaging" by a Facebook seller. Scotland's national football logo is used as an example.
GBL can be delivered in “various packaging” by a Facebook seller. Scotland’s national football logo is used as an example.

Jess’s ordeal took place on a Friday night at The Golf Lounge in Glasgow’ s West George Street last month where she was found unconscious on the floor of a toilet cubicle by her friends.

They suspected she’d been spiked and called 999, but as no ambulances were available, Jess’ parents came to pick her up and take her home.
Despite contacting police the next morning, Jess believes a lack of understanding over how to deal with the situation saw her endure a 34-hour wait for a drug sample to be taken.

Officers told the family that Jess should have gone to hospital the previous night and advised her to call NHS 24.

The emergency call centre advised her to go to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, where drug testing could be done.

But A&E staff at the QEUH said it was the police’s ­responsibility to carry out testing and treated her for dehydration and a high heart rate.

Police returned to the family home on the Sunday morning and a drug sample was taken, but Jess fears the substance was out of her system by then and that she will never be able to prove what happened.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “As drugs laws are reserved, the reclassification of these drugs and resulting higher penalties will apply across the whole of the UK.

Jess had been out for a few drinks with some friends at The Golf Lounge
Jess had been out for a few drinks with some friends at The Golf Lounge

“The act of spiking is utterly abhorrent and we remain absolutely committed to working with partners – including Police Scotland, health services and third sector organisations – to tackle all forms of violence against women.

“Police Scotland have reported a downward trend in recorded spiking incidents since November last year, but there are a range of existing criminal laws in Scotland that can be used to prosecute anyone who is found to have spiked a person.

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“The Scottish Government continue to work with partners to strengthen our response to spiking, and ensure that women are supported to report if something does happen. This includes increasing training and awareness of spiking for nighttime industry staff and continuing to implement our Equally Safe Strategy.”

Detective Inspector Stuart Gillies, of Police Scotland, said previously: “The welfare of victims in these incidents is of paramount importance.

“We have clear protocols in place to ensure full and thorough investigations are carried out in all reported incidents.

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