Starting July 1, California drinking establishments will be required to stock testing kits that tell you if your drink has been spiked with common date rape drugs like ketamine or GHB, though bars won’t have to provide the testing strips for free.
There are already many Bay Area bars and nightclubs that hand out fentanyl testing strips so you can check and see if your party drugs are laced with deadly fentanyl. But come July 1, thanks to a new California law, the state’s bars and nightclubs will be required to provide testing strips of a different nature. KGO reports that the new law requires bars to carry strips to test if your drink has been spiked with date rape drugs like GHB or ketamine, in response to an increasing scourge of people getting unwittingly drugged at drinking establishments, which is often followed by a sexual assault.
The bill is called AB-1013, and Governor Newsom signed it in October. It takes effect July 1. The law will only apply to establishments with Type 48 licenses, that is, those that only serve drinks and not food. Bars will be required to stock the testing strips, though they will not be required to provide them for free. And per the wording of the law, bars will also be required to post a sign saying, “Don’t get roofied! Drink spiking drug test kits available here. Ask a staff member for details.”
The bill was introduced by Long Beach Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal, himself a bar and restaurant proprietor. “Due to the challenges of addressing and prosecuting this crime after it has taken place, preventative measures are a commonsense way to try to curb the instances of drugging that are taking place in Type 48 establishments,” Lowenthal said in a statement while the bill made its way through the legislature.
These drink testing strips are often available online at about a dollar for one strip, or as little as 10 or 20 cents if you buy them in bulk. And again, bars won’t be required to hand them out for free, so there is no automatic financial burden on the establishment.
“There’s no taste. There’s no scent. There is no color to them. They’re really tough to detect, but very fortunately, they’re easy to test,” Lowenthal told KCRA. “Just one drop of your drink onto a test coaster, and you know immediately if your drink has been spiked.”
Some California communities have tried to address this locally. L.A.’s KCBS reported that the City of West Hollywood started providing bars with the strips for free in August of 2022, and KGTV adds that Long Beach provides them for free to bars in that SoCal city.
Image: glasses alcohol cocktail set and beer on a waiter tray in bar (Getty Images)