A young University of Wollongong student has spoken out after her drink was spiked at a popular Wollongong CBD bar last week.
Emma Thompson, 21, is urging others to report their incidents to authorities in the hope more can be done by police and venues to prevent drink spiking.
Wollongong police are investigating Ms Thompson's allegation after she reported it on Monday.
Ms Thompson said she arrived at The Illawarra hotel about 11pm on Thursday night and had two drinks before she started to feel "dizzy and sick".
"I just remember going to the bathroom and I fell on the floor and I couldn't get up," she said.
"I had a bruised elbow and I guess I passed out. My text messages just before were incoherent.
"None of my friends could find me and I don't really remember anything else. Everything is blank.
"It was horrible. My friends said I was acting flirty which is so scary because that isn't me. I wasn't in control."
Ms Thompson said she must have woken up and left the bathroom as her friend found her stumbling around the dance floor before they went home.
"The next day I kept throwing up and I couldn't get out of bed," she said. "I felt nauseous for a few days.
"It not only freaked me out but also my friends as they couldn't find me. It was so scary.
"Now I'm anxious about going out, being alone or going in an Uber by myself.
"I don't think I'll be ready to go out again for a long time but if I don't then whoever did this wins."
She said she did not want to have to modify her behaviour and instead said the focus should be on telling people to not drug others or anything else more sinister.
The Law and Arts student said she did not see anyone slip a drug into her drink but suspected it likely happened on the dance floor.
Ms Thompson said while she felt "dismissed" by the officer who took her report, she would still encourage others to contact police.
"It is a known problem that women don't report these assaults because police might think they are exaggerating but it is important they are reported," she said.
"Then maybe venues will put in more protections, security, control the dance floor or ask for more police presence.
"Drink spiking is illegal and completely takes away a person's control.
"Unfortunately it is so common and happens everywhere."
Ms Thompson hoped police would take more proactive steps to patrol venues more frequently in the hope it deterred people from spiking drinks; or reassured people they could report their experience to police.
The Unanderra resident praised the response from the owners of The Illawarra who helped and listened to her when she made the complaint as well as searched CCTV footage to see if anyone could be seen slipping a drug into her drink.
Publican Ryan Aitchison said managers were "shocked" to hear about Ms Thompson's incident and spent hours investigating it.
"My wife Nikki and I have two young daughters and it really troubles us that we live in a world where this sort of thing can happen," he said.
"We've since doubled our security which is close to three times what a venue of our size should have but we don't want to take any chances.
"We also take a lot of time to question people when they're seen to be suspiciously hovering around females."
Mr Aitchison said as a family pub the behaviour was "heartbreaking" and urged anyone who saw suspicious activity to report it to management immediately.
"We will go to great lengths to help put whoever is responsible behind bars where they belong," he said.
Between October 2020 and April 2021, there was one drink-spiking incident reported to police from a venue in Wollongong in December 2020.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said Wollongong police had a specialist licensing team who regularly conducted licensing and enforcement operations within the city's venues.
"This includes Operation Pariac, a high-visibility operation that targets alcohol-related crime in regional NSW," she said.
The spokeswoman said people who had their drink spiked should seek urgent medical treatment and tell police as soon as possible.
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