ISSUES affecting students in York such as reports of spiking as well as loneliness are hot topics being highlighted by a new social media app.

Jodel is a hyperlocal social media app which is targeting university students in the city in a bid to raise awareness about mental health and other issues.

One of its key features is that it is profile-less which creators say allows students to confidently reach out to peers for advice and enjoy entertaining content from people in their local area.

The app has seen students use it to ask candid questions and stories about their university experience.

Conversations have included where to go out, jobs, mental health and relationships as well as recent reports of spiking incidents in the city.

Since mid-October, when the app launched in York, it has seen over a thousand students using the app, an increase in users by 70 per cent each week.

There have also been more than 3,000 posts, generated by student users in York.

The app has also helped to support the recent #BigNightIn strike, encouraging other students to discuss how bars in York can make going out safer.

Detective Inspector Paul Groves, from York Police's Criminal Investigation Department, confirmed that York police were investigating six reports of suspected drink spiking in York, which took place over a six-week period.

He urged people to be aware of the signs of spiking and to report it as soon as possible.

As reported, Ellie Emsley and a friend, both 22 and from Easingwold, reported being targeted, resulting in hospital treatment following a night out in Swinegate, York.


Neither noticed being spiked, but as they prepared to head home, the friend started to act strangely and foam at the mouth, and later started to have a fit and suffer hallucinations.

Ellie also suffered a seizure..

The two women say tests revealed they may have been drugged - and Ellie later found a puncture wound on her back.

Drink spiking carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence in the UK.

Detective Inspector Groves said: "Some may not realise that spiking does not only apply to adding prescription or illegal drugs to a drink, it also covers adding an extra shot of alcohol in order to make a person more vulnerable.

"Police in York are asking people to be vigilant to this offence and to be aware of the signs, so they can seek help and report it sooner."

He advised people to always keep an eye on their drink, and never leave it unattended. He cautioned against accepting drinks from a stranger and stressed the importance of sticking together with friends to look out for each other.

Symptoms of spiking vary depending upon the substance used, but can include feeling sleepy, loss of balance, visual problems, sickness, confusion and in some cases unconsciousness, he said.

“If you think someone has been spiked, get help as soon as you can from bar or security staff. If their condition deteriorates, call an ambulance and keep an eye on them until help arrives. It’s also important to report it to police as soon as possible. Substances that are used to spike drinks are sometimes very quick to exit a person’s system, so the sooner it’s reported to us, the sooner we can capture evidence and determine exactly what’s happened."