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Venues in California to be required to offer spiking test kits under new law

From July 2024, clubs and bars across the US state will offer tests for "date-rape" drugs such as ketamine, GHB and more

  • WORDS: GEMMA ROSS | PHOTO: MARKO MILIVOJEVIC
  • 11 January 2024
Venues in California to be required to offer spiking test kits under new law

California has introduced a new law against spiking, requiring clubs and bars across the state to stock “roofie” testing kits from July 2024.

The law will be enforced in just a few months time aiming to keep California’s venues safe and protect clubgoers as spiking concerns continue across the country.

The testing kit will allow users to test for drugs such as ketamine and GHB, each coming stocked with a strip, sticker, or straw that can pick up signs of typical “date-rape” drugs.

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AB 1013 will come into place in July after months of deliberations. Californian assembly member Josh Lowenthal introduced the bill to prevent drink spiking last April, stating: “As we all know we have a crisis with fentanyl in California, but it is not the only crisis we have.”

“We have a crisis taking place that is resulting in sexual assault, that’s targeting primarily women and members of the LGBTQ+ communities,” he told the committee.

The bill passed its first legislative committee with bipartisan support by a vote of 18-0 in April 2023 and was made an official law in the autumn.

“I have members of my staff that have been roofied,” Lowenthal explained. “There are members of the legislative body that have been roofied.”

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Venues in California must begin implementing test kits before July 1. Kits may cost to purchase but must be sold at a “reasonable” price that does not extort the user, or be offered for free, according to the bill.

In December, the UK Home Office announced the modernisation of law to make it clear that spiking is a crime. Despite the move, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) expressed "deep disappointment" that the new measures fall short of making spiking a specific offence.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill told Mixmag that "drink spiking is a serious and prevalent issue that poses a threat to the safety and well-being of individuals within our community."

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

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