By Annette Shailer
Tough new laws passed last month will see drink spikers behind bars for up to two years or face an $11,000 fine.
The new laws preceded claims by a Liberal MP of an increase in drink spiking in trendy areas in Sydney’s inner-city, eastern suburbs, lower North Shore and in the gay and lesbian communities.
“Four out of five incidences are young women with one-third of drink spiking cases involving sexual assault,” said Upper house Liberal MP Marie Ficarra, adding that young women were most at risk.
A report by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) estimates up to 4000 cases of drink spiking take place across Australia each year, with only one in six cases reported to police.
The need for greater industry knowledge and training was raised by Ficarra with hotel staff pinpointed as a safe point of contact for victims of drink spiking.
“If anyone thinks their drink may have been tampered with they should alert bar staff who can contact an ambulance immediately,” Ficarra said. “With the increase in drink spiking, bar and hotel staff should be trained in how to deal with these situations and have guidelines in place.”
The liberal MP also highlighted the increase of drink spiking in the gay and lesbian communities, in the spotlight last week when openly gay entertainer Todd McKenney was found in Rushcutters Bay Park unconscious and with illicit party drug GHB in his possession. McKenney is a judge on the Seven Network’s Dancing With The Stars.
McKenney is protesting the drug possession charge, saying his drink was spiked and the drugs planted on him.
McKenney is suspected to have had up to 10 doses of the controlled substance GHB, or Fantasy, on him at the time of his arrest.
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