First scene. At the end of March at the Ware House in Nantes, a well-known concert hall, Charlotte, 19, is in the crowd with several friends. At one point, she feels someone touch her pants. She turns around, but she doesn’t see anything. Seconds later, she feels her arm feel heavy and warm. She starts to get dizzy. She goes outside and then finds out. “He had a hole in his arm” Charlotte will tell, days later, to the newspaper ‘L’Express’. Second scene. May 27, Zénith room, in Rouen. At the Trappe Trappe Festival, several young people – three men and three women – say they have been victims of strange bites. The police confirm that they are investigating three cases and carrying out toxicological tests.
Between these two scenarios there are more than 300 km and two months of distance. In this time, the strange phenomenon of syringe attacks has spread to nightclubs and concert halls across the country. Between the end of March and the end of May, more than 350 complaints of stings have been filed; in May alone, about 200. The figure was given by the media ‘France Info’ after collecting dozens of testimonies of a phenomenon that has been taking place since March.
The investigators do not know the motivations of the suspects and no one has been arrested so far. In addition, except for two cases in the Western Pyrenees area, in which the victims had been injected with liquid ecstasy or GHB (a drug with effects similar to those of alcohol that has sometimes been dubbed “the date rape drug”) “), it is not known what the syringes contained. The risk exists, since some diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis B, are transmitted through punctures or wounds. To finish triggering the psychosis, it has been confirmed that many of the bites are not the result of syringes but of simple needles.
With summer just around the corner, music festival organizers are taking precautions and keeping their fingers crossed that these strange incidents come to an end. “We are very concerned,” confirmed the organization of Les Paradis Artificiels, the rap festival held in Lille last weekend, where more than 6,000 people gathered. The appointment had reinforced the security protocol to be prepared to attend to the victims of a puncture as quickly as possible, something that, fortunately, did not occur.
Grégory Allard, director of another electronic music festival that will be held next August in the Nord Pas de Calais region, confessed these days in ‘La voix du nord’ that they will be “extremely vigilant” and will double register at the entrance of the event . In several of these festivals, the presence of teams of volunteers from associations against addictions has already been confirmed to provide assistance if necessary.
In Belgium, on May 25, 24 young people went to the first aid point of the We are Young festival, in Hasselt, with nausea, headache and symptoms of hyperventilation. The festival was suspended but the analyzes carried out did not find any harmful substance in the victims. The authorities warn, however, of the need to report as soon as possible if you receive a puncture, since many drugs disappear from the blood after a few hours.
This phenomenon, despite now grabbing headlines and attention, is not new. Last fall, something similar (and with greater repercussions) happened in the United Kingdom. A student named Sarah Buckle confessed to the newspaper ‘The Times’ that she had been stuck with a syringe while she was in a nightclub, in September 2021. She woke up the next day in a hospital, with a small wound on her hand and without remembering what had happened. spent the rest of the night.
At the end of October, ‘The Guardian’ reported up to 198 poisonings in entertainment venues, of which 56 would have been caused by injections. That same month, Labor Party member Anna McMorrin directly challenged British ‘premier’ Boris Johnson on this issue in Parliament: “It is always women and girls who suffer. How many more have to be ‘hunted’ before the Prime Minister act? Then a movement baptized as ‘Girls Night In’ (the girls stay at home) began to take shape in that country, calling for a boycott of bars in the United Kingdom.
In January 2022, the British police confirmed that they had received up to 1,300 reports of punctures in the previous six months. Very far from these figures, now the concern seems to be in France, where, despite everything, the majority are young people – and also night businessmen – who call for calm. Patrick Malvaës, president of the National Union of Nightclubs and Leisure Venues in France, confessed to Euro News that these incidents “are an example of the damage that a rumor can cause.” In a report published in “La Dépêche”, several adolescents recounted that “for years we have been very careful, we never leave our drink, we watch each other”. And now the bites. Emma, sitting on the banks of the Garonne River, a meeting point for youth in Toulouse, tried to settle: “There are so many things that can happen in one night. What we cannot do is stop living.”
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