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Bars, Nightclubs in California Must Sell Date Rape Drug Test Kits Starting in July

Bars, Nightclubs in California Must Sell Date Rape Drug Test Kits Starting in July

A restaurant worker arranges items behind the bar at a restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif., on Sept. 9, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

1/10/2024

Updated: 1/16/2024

Beginning this July, bars and nightclubs in California must sell kits that test drinks for “date rape” drugs, after a new law was passed last year.
“Date rape” drugs such as gamma hydroxybutyrate and ketamine are tasteless and colorless when mixed with a drink, and often used by predators to sedate and take advantage of unknowing people.
Those who suspect their drinks may be drugged can drop a small amount of fluid from their drink on the test strip, which will change color to a specific shade if a drug is detected.
Under Assembly Bill 1013—introduced by Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal (D-Long Beach)—bars and nightclubs must provide drink test kits, although they can charge patrons for such.
However, the new law states that the price “not ... exceed a reasonable amount based on the wholesale cost.”
It also requires bars and nightclubs to display a notice that the kits are available for sale.
Several Southern California cities, including Long Beach, have already launched efforts to curb incidents caused by date rape drugs.
Long Beach launched last September a SipSafe Program, which allows businesses and organizations to apply for testing kits via a city website.
So far, 15 businesses are participating in the program, according to the city’s website.
Meanwhile, a similar initiative is taking place in West Hollywood, where the city council approved a partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center WeHo Life program to purchase and distribute testing kits to businesses and patrons for free.
In an August Assembly analysis of the now law, the bill’s author noted the difficulty in finding current data on the use of date rape drugs—but emphasized the urgency of the issue.
“It’s difficult to find comprehensive, up-to-date statistics on the prevalence of drink-spiking [or] drugging but various state officials and police departments from across the country have stated that it is a problem that needs to be addressed,” the analysis read.
However, the analysis also noted that the Long Beach Police Department received an average of 25 reports per year from people who suspected their drinks had been drugged while out.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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