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West Hollywood Hands Out Test Strips That Tell You When Your Drink Is Drugged

12:37 PM PDT on August 23, 2022

    “Test My Drink” strips

    While Hollywood's police are busy shooting blockbusters to keep you and your phone safe from wicked jezebels, West Hollywood is implementing a concrete solution for nightlife-goers who may be targeted for violent crime.

    The city, which recently chose to re-route funding from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department to a local approach involving designated "security ambassadors," has started a program to hand out easily transportable kits containing five cocktail test strips to local bars and restaurants.

    The strips go by the name "Test My Drink" and are also sold online in both English and Spanish versions.

    The thin paper strips have two tests on each side and can tell someone whether or not their cocktail has been drugged identifying the presence of chemicals including ketamine, GHB, and Rohypnol, commonly referred to as "date rape" drugs due to their use by rapists who use them in powder, liquid, or pill form then place them in unaware victims' drinks to disorient and later assault or rob them.

    All users simply need to do is put a drop of their drink onto the strip using a straw or finger to find out if it may have been spiked, which is indicated by the appearance of a color on the testing patch. The program follows an ordinance passed last year that requires anyone serving drinks at bars or clubs to undergo bystander intervention training that teaches staff how to intercede if they see someone who is intoxicated being taken advantage of.

    According to NBC, volunteers and local politicians handed out kits to over 200 establishments on Monday.

    Keely Field, of the West Hollywood Women's Advisory Board told the news channel, "This is not just something that happened to me. This is something that happens every night. Not just in West Hollywood."

    The report notes a statistic from the Office on Women's Health that states, "nearly 11 million women in the United States have been raped while drunk, drugged or high."

    Though statistics aren't available on the frequency of spiked drinks playing a part in those assaults, as well as the reluctance of some survivors to file police reports after the crime, both common knowledge and high-profile incidents continue to remind us of the dangers people face when drinking around strangers. Or even so-called friends.

    This past March, Michael Roe Chien Hsu pleaded guilty to a well-publicized 2016 incident in which he was witnessed by a bystander placing drugs into the drink of a platonic friend at Santa Monica's Fig restaurant.

    In another tragic, disturbing, and widely publicized crime from last year, two women were dumped outside of separate L.A. hospitals and later pronounced dead due to drug overdoses, following a night in which they hung out with a group of men they didn't know, who are now awaiting trial on murder charges.

    The test strips, though small, are a powerful and discrete tool that will hopefully be a strong defense against such sneaky and reprehensible attacks in the future. More distribution events are being planned in West Hollywood for the near future.

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