California Bars and Clubs Crack Down on Drink Spiking with ‘Don’t Get Roofied!’ Initiative

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jun 07, 2024

California is taking a firm stand against drink spiking with a new law requiring bars and clubs to offer drug-testing kits. Starting July 1, patrons will have access to these kits to ensure their drinks are safe.

This initiative aims to protect vulnerable groups, especially women and LGBTQ communities, from the dangers of spiked drinks.

Addressing the Crisis

Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal called drink spiking a “crisis” that disproportionately affects women and LGBTQ individuals.

A group of people sat down to drink alcohol. The two girls in the picture have a drink in a tumbler glass with a black straw in both glasses.

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“Unfortunately, drink spiking is often used to facilitate the commission of other crimes, such as sexual assault and rape,” Lowenthal said in 2023. This law is a proactive measure to combat these crimes and ensure safer social environments.

How the Kits Work

The drug-testing kits can detect substances like GHB, ketamine, and rohypnol, which are commonly used in drink spiking.

A scientist is pictured with several test samples in her lab

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These kits come in various forms, including test strips, stickers, and straws. They provide a simple and effective way for patrons to check their drinks and stay safe.

Who is Affected?

More than 2,000 establishments across California, including clubs, bars, restaurants, stadiums, and hotels, must comply with this new law.

A large group of people sat around a table eating and drinking.

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Each venue will display a sign informing patrons about the availability of the drug-testing kits, emphasizing the message: “Don’t get roofied! Drink-spiking drug test kits available here. Ask a staff member for details.”

Compliance and Penalties

Establishments have the option to charge for the kits or provide them for free. Those who fail to comply with the law could face disciplinary actions, including fines and administrative citations from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

A close-up photograph of a judge’s gavel on a wooden table

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This ensures that the law is taken seriously and effectively enforced.

Cost and Accessibility

The drug-testing kits are affordable, costing less than $1 per piece when purchased in bulk. This low cost makes it easier for businesses to provide these kits without a significant financial burden.

Small US coins sit on top of a one dollar bill.

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The goal is to make safety accessible to everyone without creating a barrier for patrons or businesses.


Legislative Support

The law was authored by California State Assemblymembers Josh Lowenthal and Mike Gipson.

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They recognized the urgent need for such a measure to protect residents and visitors. Their combined efforts have led to this groundbreaking initiative aimed at reducing drink-spiking incidents.


The Role of Establishments

Businesses play a crucial role in the success of this initiative. By providing these kits and promoting their availability, they help create a safer environment for their patrons.

A group of men and women sat around a table eating food. There is food and wine on the table.

Alex Haney/Unsplash

This responsibility shows the importance of community involvement in preventing drink spiking.


Impact on Patrons

Patrons will benefit from increased peace of mind knowing they can easily test their drinks at-will.

Deutsch: Nosing glass mit Renegade Saint Lucia Rum, Cocktailspitz mit einem Manhattan und Old Fashioned-Glas mit einem Tequila Old Fashioned. English: Nosing glass with Renegade Saint Lucia Rum, cocktail glass with Manhattan and Old Fashioned glass with Tequila Old Fashioned.

Source: Cocktailmarler/Wikicommons

This added layer of protection helps ensure that social outings remain enjoyable and safe, reducing the fear and risk associated with drink spiking.


Future Prospects

As the law takes effect, it could set a precedent for other states to follow.

Lawyer fills out paperwork on a desk with a judges gavel beside him

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California’s proactive approach might inspire similar measures nationwide, further enhancing safety in social settings across the country.


Educational Campaigns

Alongside the provision of testing kits, educational campaigns will help raise awareness about drink spiking.

Man in White Dress Shirt

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Informative materials and outreach efforts will ensure that patrons are knowledgeable about the risks and the tools available to them. Ultimately, education is key to preventing drink spiking.


A Widespread Model for Safer Establishments?

California’s ‘Don’t Get Roofied!’ initiative is a vital step in combating drink spiking. By requiring bars and clubs to offer drug-testing kits, the state is proactively addressing a serious issue.

alcohol bottles at a bar

Source: Chris F/Pexels

This law not only enhances safety but also sets a standard for other regions to emulate.