Love Island star Sharon Gaffka leads campaign after drink spiking left her unconscious

Sharon Gaffka appeared on ITV's Love Island in 2021

A former Love Island contestant has revealed her friends found her unconscious in a toilet cubicle after her drink was spiked during a lunch.

Sharon Gaffka, who lives in Didcot, Oxfordshire, is speaking about her experience to raise awareness of the dangers, following a wave of spiking incidents in recent months.

The Love Islander, 26, appeared on Series 7 of the popular ITV show last summer.

Sharon, who had her drink spiked in July 2020, told ITV News Meridian she has no memory of what happened.

"I was out having lunch with my friends after the first lockdown, the first time we had seen each other in a long time.

"One minute I was having a glass of wine, and the next minute I was found unconscious in the bathroom.

  • Watch Sharon Gaffka speak about her ordeal.

"From what my friend told me, she came out of a cubicle, but I didn't, so she had assumed I went back to the table. After a few minutes my friends returned to the bathroom and they found me wedged between the toilet and the bathroom door.

"My eyes were rolling in the back of my head, and I wasn't able to focus, and my breathing was getting low, so then my friends phoned an ambulance.

"When the crew arrived, they looked at me as if I was just drunk, and it was my own fault.

"They told my friends to take me home and let me sleep it off. Fortunately one of my friends insisted I was taken to hospital.

Sharon said it wasn't the first incident she had experienced, and that what happened has left her with anger and anxiety.

Sharon Gaffka wants venues to be better trained to dealing with spiking incidents. Credit: ITV News

She's told ITV Meridian the experience has forced her to change her behaviour, and now won't touch a drink if she's left it for a second.

Sharon said she's received hundreds of messages of support, including one message from a 14-year-old girl.

"I was hearing more and more sinister stories about spiking and the things that can happen after, and I feel like if we normalise talking about this issue, more people will feel strong enough to come forward and report it to the police.

"Spiking doesn't have its own legislative code, it's part of the sexual offences act.

"But spiking isn't always motivated by sexual assault.

Wantage MP David Johnston is supporting Sharon's campaign.

He said: "As part of Sharon's campaign, she's now got over 1,000 testimonies from people, ranging from the ages of 14 to 65, who have all had similar experiences.

"We've got to clamp down on this because it's a disgraceful practice.

  • David Johnston, MP for Wantage

He added, "I think establishments have got to put in place the proper safeguards for this.

"But in the end, people who are determined to do this sort of thing, will find a way of hding what it is that they're using.

"On university campuses, they've talked about small needles being used at times, at places that aren't well monitored.

"So we have to be clear, it's the people who do this are the problem, and the challenge for the government is to work out how you can catch the people doing this.

"Because people should be able to go on their night out safely, without worrying someone is going to do this to them."

Sharon continued, "In the future I want to see more education around spiking.

"But also how we bridge the gap between the police and the NHS, and get spiking its own criminal code.

"It's so victims of spiking no matter the circumstances re protecting within the law."

Advice to help avoid drink spiking

  • Never leave your drink unattended, whether it’s alcoholic or not

  • Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know

  • Avoid drinking too much

  • Stick together with friends, and look out for each other

What to do if you think you or your friend has been spiked

  • Tell a bar manager, bouncer or member of staff

  • Stay with them and keep talking to them

  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates

  • Don’t let them go home on their own

  • Don’t let them leave with someone you don’t know or trust

  • Don’t let them drink more alcohol - this could lead to more serious problems