By Ellie Iorizzo, Senior Entertainment Reporter PA
Former Love Island contestant Sharon Gaffka is advocating for education around drink spiking after she became a victim of the crime.
The reality TV personality, who appeared in the ITV dating show last summer, has endorsed the Stamp Out Spiking campaign after she was found unconscious in a toilet cubicle in 2020.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, the 26-year-old said she was “cast as being too drunk” as opposed to having been spiked and is encouraging better education on the issue.
A club in Exeter has become the first venue in the UK to be 'drink spiking aware' accredited.
Former Love Islander @SharonNJGaffka recalls her experience of drink spiking as she reiterates the importance of speaking out.
Watch GMB 👉 https://t.co/6iQ6ebeOEQ pic.twitter.com/eNIwxTHEc6
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 17, 2022
She said: “After the first lockdown, I was out with my friends at our favourite restaurant.
“I had had a couple of drinks celebrating a friend’s birthday and the next thing that happened to me was that I was found passed out in a ladies toilet cubicle.
“I didn’t really comprehend it until maybe a day after because I have no recollection of anything apart from being there one minute and waking up in A&E the next.
“I think maybe my inhibitions were a little bit lowered just because we still had Covid restrictions and rules and you weren’t allowed to mingle, so I think I was just a little bit more relaxed about who was around the table.”
GMB co-host Ben Shephard asked whether she remembered a moment when it could have happened.
Gaffka added: “We do. I think its very hard to prove because there were things we could have done at the time that we just didn’t know we could do, and that’s why its so important to talk about it now, so that in the future people in my situation know what to do to help themselves.
“I was victim to being cast as being too drunk as opposed to being spiked… I have always advocated for better education around the subject of spiking because there are great things on the market that can deter people, especially with lids on drinks.
“My fear is that they will just move on to a different way of spiking so it won’t just become drink spiking, and we are seeing it more with spiking by injection.
“I think go down the educational route to show people what symptoms of spiking look like.”
Dawn Dines, founder of the campaign Stamp Out Spiking, told the ITV show there is a “complete difference” between drinking alcohol and having a drink spiked.
“It is just this myth that people say, ‘oh you’ve had too much to drink’, when that’s not actually the case,” she added.
Co-host Kate Garraway described Gaffka’s experiences as “terrifying” but said she was “pleased” her own 15-year-old daughter is “very aware” of soft drinks being spiked.
“For me growing up, this was not something we were aware of, but only at the weekend a friend of mine had it happen to her and she is around my age, it feels like it is everywhere suddenly,” Garraway added.
Gaffka’s appearance on GMB came after a club in Exeter became the first venue in the UK to be “drink spiking aware” accredited.