California

Date rape drug tests will soon be required in California bars

Coming this summer to a bar near you, “roofie" test kits

NBC Universal, Inc.

California state legislators passed Assembly Bill 1013. It requires liquor establishments with a type 48 license to offer drink tests by mid-summer 2024 that can detect common date rape drugs.

NBC San Diego spoke with a Gaslamp Quarter bar on Monday that already has test strips available.

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If you’re having a drink at Happy Does on Fifth Avenue you are also welcome to a free chaser, of sorts. It’s a date-rape drug test strip.

“We’re in a super busy district. There are a lot of people coming from out of town and a lot of people in town. It’s just a case of better safe than sorry,” bartender Jon Hayes said

Hayes says the company started offering the tests at all its properties in January 2024. Hayes says he hasn’t had a customer ask for one yet.

“It's a new thing we are adapting to as a bar and I am glad this bar is one of the first ones,” Hayes said.

The test strips are quick and easy to use. Just place a few drops of your drink on the designated areas of the card. If it turns blue or black there is a good chance you were "roofied," which is when someone has slipped Rohypnol (another name for flunitrazepam) into a drink.

Women from the area say it adds an extra layer of protection for those who might be out alone or out with their guard down. It also gives them better control over their evening.

“Good idea,” Gaslamp visitor Odilia Olivares said.

 “I think anything you can do to protect women would be good,“ downtown resident Heather Strohm said.

The state law requires establishments with title 48 liquor licenses — those that don’t admit minors or serve food — but sell, spirits, wine and beer, to provide such date rape drug tests to customers upon request.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control published examples of signs that must also be posted.

“Women take a little too much to drink without eating as much as they should so they don‘t know their environment.” Olivares said.

However, nothing can replace common sense

AB 1013 is not intended to replace common sense. Take it from a bartender.

“Know who you got your drink from and if they are buying a drink, try to watch the bartender make it. Make sure it’s handed directly to you,” Hayes said.

Not all businesses where alcohol is sold may have the test kits. When in doubt, throw it out and ask for something else.

Bar and night club owners that don’t comply could face penalties that could impact their licenses.

The law goes into affect July 1.

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