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Use of 'date rape' drugs increases in Austria

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Use of 'date rape' drugs increases in Austria
Don LaVange/Creative Commons
10:14 CEST+02:00
The number of known crimes in Austria involving knockout drops has nearly doubled in the past year, with more women than men being affected for the first time.

The figures were released following a parliamentary question from a Team Stronach politician about the number of incidents involving the drops, which are added to victims' drinks to make them fall unconscious.

In 2014 the number of known crimes involving the knockout drops in Austria was 63, which nearly doubled to 113 in 2015 according to the Interior Ministry’s response.

For the first time rape was the most common offence carried out by users of the drops, accounting for 54 of the cases. In previous years it was more common for them to be used by people to carry out robberies in Austria, although the substances used are commonly referred to as ‘date-rape drugs’.

Also for the first time, women were more likely to be victims of knockout drop incidents than men, with the number of women affected in such incidents rising from 19 in 2014 to 73 in 2015. Cases where the victims were male stayed nearly at a constant level.

Team Stronach’s women’s officer Martina Schenk has now called for more prevention work to be carried out with targeted groups.

“The almost doubling of the figures shows how important prevent work is in this area,” she said, adding that children are also being increasingly affected. “Because every tenth affected person is underage, schools and parents must be increasingly be actively involved.”

One of the problems in preventing incidents, however, is the fact that the substance is colourless, making it difficult to spot when a drink has been spiked.

Police are also left with little evidence as the substance can only be detected in the body for a short time and they are often reliant on the victim for information.

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