When it came to wanting to show just how serious the effects of drink spiking can be, Daisy Maskell decided she would put her own body on the line.
The TV and radio presenter had heard many unsettling stories of people who had woken up after a night out to discover they’d been the victims of a drugging and wanted to play her part to shine a light on what was happening.
In the past five years drug spiking incidents reported to police have increased five-fold, with one case reported to the police every hour last year.
But as reports have gone up, the percentage of those investigated and leading to criminal charges has dropped dramatically, from 4 per cent in 2018 to just 0.23 per cent in 2002.
Knowing she wanted to do something drastic to show the dangers, Daisy decided to sign up to become a victim herself.
‘For me personally I’ve never been a victim of drink spiking, but I think what pushed me to make this documentary and focus on this subject was the fact every other person I was speaking to in my day-to-day life either had an experience or knew someone that had,’ she told Metro.co.uk.
Presenter Daisy Maskell got her drink spiked on purpose for an experiment (Picture: Channel 4)
‘I knew I wanted to make a film because victims weren’t receiving the support or justice, but I also wanted to do something drastic as well because it is an under reported crime and I also wanted to show people the effects of drink spiking and the things to look out for.’
Under the watchful eye of Professor Celia Morgan, an expert in psychedelic drugs at the University of Exeter, Daisy had a drink spiked while cameras were there to capture what happened in the aftermath.
With a limited amount of the drug used, and no alcohol mixed into the drink, Daisy was still surprised at how quickly the effects kicked in.
She did so for a documentary, The Truth About Spiking (Picture: Channel 4)
‘The first symptom was my jaw locking up and it was so quick. It was within a few minutes of having the drink that my speech started to slur and after that I began to almost disassociate from the environment I was in,’ she explained.
‘I could hear words coming out of my mouth, but it was almost like a delay hearing them. I didn’t feel very present – I felt very withdrawn and locked in.’
Looking back at the footage was an ‘eerie’ experience for Daisy, who said she went in with a pre-conceived idea of what a spiking victim looked like.
In it she meets with a bar manager who shows her a drink spiking card (Picture: Rosemary Baker/ Channel 4)
‘I thought it was going to be me looking slumped over and unable to move but actually to anyone who didn’t know me, I look like I’m behaving quite normally and am in a position to consent and advocate for myself and I thought that if I saw that girl on a night out in that state I wouldn’t necessarily think there is something wrong with her or that she needed help,’ she explained.
‘But I know in that moment mentally I was really, really going through it.’
Watching herself back, Daisy said she hoped what she went through made it clear to viewers that ‘not all spiking victims look or react the same’.
The spiking experiment is undertaken under the watchful eye of medical professionals (Picture: Rosemary Baker/ Channel 4)
While she was in safe hands and had undergone medical exams before the experiment, she admitted it was still nerve-wracking to go on camera and relinquish control as the drugs took effect.
Speaking about how she loved to immerse herself into the subjects she investigates, Daisy said she hoped the documentary not only educated people on the signs to look out for, but to speak to the perpetrators directly and make them realise ‘how dangerous this is’.
‘I was in a safe environment and knew the drug that was being administered and the dosage, but victims aren’t given that same opportunity or foresight and you just don’t know how a drug is going to react in someone else’s body,’ she said.
‘These aren’t also only sexually motivated attacks – some people are doing this to a friend to “liven” them up on a night out, but these people are not in a position to monitor dosage and don’t know what drugs are in them and how serious this is. It can have really dangerous implications.’
In the documentary, Daisy also meets victims of spiking, none of whom have seen their attacker brought to justice, as well as a police and crime commissioner who speaks about how her force is focussing on prevention, while a barrister argues there is a powerful case to bring in a new law specifically making spiking illegal.
UNTOLD: The Truth About Spiking is available to stream from today on Channel 4.
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‘I was really, really going through it.’