To forestall rapes, West Hollywood shares spiked-drink exams

In response to nightlife security issues, a brand new initiative is underway in West Hollywood to stem the issue of spiked drinks and the sexual predators who spike them.

The metropolis started distributing date-rape drug check kits Monday to venues that serve alcohol and to some patrons. The packages comprise exams that detect whether or not somebody’s drink has been drugged, additionally known as “roofied” — that means dosed with Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) or an identical drug.

“This prevention can actually save somebody’s life,” West Hollywood Mayor Professional Tem Sepi Shyne stated. Shyne and Councilman John Erickson proposed the initiative to the Metropolis Council in February, and it handed with unanimous approval.

Shyne additionally hopes the exams can act as a deterrent to any and all predators.

Every equipment comprises 10 exams that detect gamma hydroxybutyrate, additionally referred to as GHB, or ketamine, two generally used date-rape drugs. Testers drop a small quantity of liquid from their drink onto the testing patch, which turns blue or crimson if medicine are current. Eating places and bars are free to show or promote the kits as they select, Shyne stated.

The town handed out about 400 kits on Monday, a spokesperson for West Hollywood stated, with further distribution deliberate for the long run. Bars and eating places also can request extra kits from the town.

The Abbey bar in West Hollywood confirmed that it obtained some kits Monday, nevertheless it didn’t provide further remark.

The choice to roll out exams comes amid anxieties round security, significantly amongst official and unofficial studies of people that consider they have been “roofied” whereas out in West Hollywood. In keeping with a report by the Metropolis Council in January, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s West Hollywood station received 30 studies between 2016 and 2021 by which a sufferer believed their drink was spiked. Seven studies have been made in 2020, and 4 studies have been made in 2021.

All however one in every of these studies concerned allegations of sexual assault, particularly rape.

Provided that the majority of sexual assaults go unreported, the precise numbers are positive to be far greater.

The town bought about 2,500 check kits in whole and budgeted about $15,000 for this system within the 2021-2022 fiscal 12 months, which incorporates help for the rollout. There may be no further funding in place for subsequent 12 months, however Shyne stated that she hopes this system can proceed if it proves profitable.

Final 12 months, the town handed an ordinance for bystander intervention coaching for alcohol servers at West Hollywood venues. In keeping with Danny Rivas, the town’s director of neighborhood security, 1,900 workers have accomplished the coaching because it launched in March, with at the very least 400 extra anticipated to take the course.

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