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Fear on the dance floor

Found at: gopher.erb.pw:70/roman/phlog2022/443.txt

Fear on the dance floor as disco needle attacks baffle France

Alarm is spreading on dance floors in France following needle
attacks on dozens of young people in nightclubs, with police in
the dark as to the assailants' identity or motives.
The victims, who are mostly women, report the sudden onset of
identical symptoms -- nausea, dizziness and sharp pain -- while
out partying, and only later detect a needle prick on their skin,
a red dot surrounded by a blue circular bruise
https://yhoo.it/3kYLet9.
Returning home from a night of dancing in April in Nantes, western
France, 21-year-old Eloise Cornut had a sudden onset of "cold sweat,
nausea, shivering and dizziness".
The beauty parlour apprentice felt better the next day, but
a colleague noticed a needle prick in the back of her arm.
"It was a red dot with half an inch of blue bruising around," she
told AFP.
Cornut, who doesn't drink or take drugs and only goes out at
weekends, said she quickly realised that needle attack must have
happened during her Saturday dance outing.
Alarm is spreading on dance floors in France following needle attacks
on dozens of young people in nightclubs, with police in the dark as
to the assailants' identity or motives.
The victims, who are mostly women, report the sudden onset of
identical symptoms -- nausea, dizziness and sharp pain -- while out
partying, and only later detect a needle prick on their skin, a red
dot surrounded by a blue circular bruise.
Returning home from a night of dancing in April in Nantes, western
France, 21-year-old Eloise Cornut had a sudden onset of "cold sweat,
nausea, shivering and dizziness".
The beauty parlour apprentice felt better the next day, but a
colleague noticed a needle prick in the back of her arm.
"It was a red dot with half an inch of blue bruising around," she
told AFP.
Cornut, who doesn't drink or take drugs and only goes out at
weekends, said she quickly realised that needle attack must have
happened during her Saturday dance outing.
Her colleagues urged her to file a police report and get a blood
test.
- 'Totally stresses me out' -
"I now have to wait five weeks before I can get an HIV test," she
said. "That totally stresses me out."
Since early April, police have been dealing with around 60 such
cases reported in nightclubs, a police source said, with the true
number likely much higher.
The gendarmerie, France's paramilitary police force mostly active
outside of large cities, said it was not able to give any countrywide
figures yet, as the data had not been sufficiently evaluated.
Some 45 cases have been reported in Nantes since mid-February,
according to prosecutors.
Complaints were also filed in the western city of Rennes and in
areas of France's south, the southwest, the French Alps and the
Atlantic coast.
Blood tests have not revealed the presence of GHB, known as "liquid
ecstasy" or "date rape drug", a substance that potential sex
assailants sometimes mix into the drink of their victims, prosecutor
Renaud Gaudeul said.
Lab tests had also failed to establish the presence of any other
toxic substance, and nobody had been arrested, he told AFP.
Experts caution, however, that GHB disappears from the bloodstream
without trace within hours after being administered.
One police source said the needle attacks were sometimes followed
by a sexual assault, and sometimes not.
- 'Big bruise, red dot' -
In Roanne, a picturesque town in the Loire valley, an 18-year-old
woman who asked not to be named was celebrating a friend's birthday
in a disco.
When she accompanied a friend to the toilet, a man groped her bottom.
"When I got home I checked in the mirror and there was a big bruise
with a red dot on my right buttock," she told AFP.
Her friends later told her that they had noticed a man staring at her
in the disco "as if he was waiting for something to happen to me".
Doctors immediately gave her preventative treatment for HIV and
hepatitis.
Roanne police are investigating the incident for "pre-meditated
violence and the pre-meditated administration of a harmful
substance".
A similar probe was launched following a complaint by a young
man in his 20s, who reported a needle stab in his shoulder in the
same disco on the same night.
The phenomenon has been spreading to music festivals, such as
the Printemps de Bourges in central France, one of the country's
biggest music gatherings.
After nine complaints from festival goers, police there also launched
an investigation into "administration of harmful substances", without
having been able so far to find any culprits or determine exactly
what devices were being used.
"We don't know whether we're looking for syringes or whether they're
using simple pins," said Agnes Bonjean, chief of staff to the prefect
of the Cher region where Bourges is located.
"It really hurt," said Noemie, 23, who was stabbed "in the thigh,
right up to the sciatic nerve" during a night out in Beziers,
southwestern France, and immediately rushed to hospital by friends
after nearly losing consciousness.
- 'Sick and perverse' -
The public prosecutor in Beziers, Raphael Balland, told AFP that
15 complaints had been filed there, of which 14 followed attacks that
happened over a single night, from April 17 to 18.
Contacted by AFP, prosecutors in Paris said that six investigations
had been launched since last week in the capital.
Meanwhile nightclub owners are beginning to feel the impact of the
attacks on their earnings.
Saying the "sick and perverse" attacks were sparking "hysteria" among
young people, Thierry Fontaine, at the UMIH hospitality association,
said they were also creating a fresh problem for nightclub owners
who were still reeling from the impact of Covid restrictions.
One nightclub owner in southwestern France reported a revenue drop
of 50 percent last weekend as people stayed away following two needle
attack cases, Fontaine said.