California Bars and Nightclubs to Offer Drug Testing Kits, Ensuring Safety on Nights Out

SAN FRANCISCO, California — As a new year begins, California implements a law designed to enhance safety during nights out. In a bid to combat the issue of drink-spiking, most bars and nightclubs across the state will soon be required to have drug testing kits readily available for customers. These kits aim to help individuals determine if their drinks have been tampered with by detecting common drugs associated with date-rape or roofie incidents, such as ketamine and GHB.

The introduction of this law has been welcomed by many, especially women, who often feel vulnerable when socializing at night. Rosemary Barrionuevo from Dublin emphasized the importance of such a measure, stating, “You don’t want to be at the wrong place, with the wrong people.” Daniel Aguilera from Oakland also expressed support, believing that the availability of testing kits will make people feel safer.

Typically, these drug testing kits consist of a strip, sticker, or straw that enables users to identify the presence of drugs in their drinks. Barrionuevo highlighted that, while men can also fall victim to drink-spiking incidents, women tend to be more cautious about the issue. Aguilera, who has personally witnessed such incidents during his time working at a bar, noted that drink-spiking is a common occurrence.

Joanna Lioche, a staff manager at Vesuvio and a longtime San Francisco bartender, recognizes the importance of customer safety and does her best to look out for them. She believes that making testing available makes logical sense. Lioche shared an example of how she helps customers, particularly women, by offering to watch their drinks while they use the restroom, ensuring the safety of their beverages.

Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal, representing Long Beach, spoke about the urgency of addressing the crisis of sexual assault, which primarily targets women and members of the LGBTQ communities. Lowenthal introduced AB 1013, the legislation that led to this new law, after hearing multiple reports of drink-spiking incidents involving himself and his staff members.

The law, which passed in the fall, requires bar owners to have drug testing kits available starting in July. However, it is up to the establishments to decide whether to charge customers for the kits.

In summary, California bars and nightclubs will soon be required to provide drug testing kits to customers to combat the issue of drink-spiking. The availability of these kits aims to enhance safety and reduce incidents of sexual assault targeting women and LGBTQ individuals. The law was introduced following reports of drink-spiking incidents experienced by lawmakers and their staff members. Bar owners are mandated to have these kits on hand starting in July, with the decision to charge customers for them left to the establishments.