New “smart” coasters can detect date-rape drugs in drinks

New coasters produced by Laval-based Alco Prevention Canada, a business that specializes in drug testing products, which had partnered with a Florida-based company, can detect the presence of date-rape drugs in drinks.

These coasters were designed to test for traces of ketamine on one side, and for gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which are two of the most commonly used date-rape drugs.

“The only thing you have to do is take one drop of your drink and put it on the test,” said Alco Prevention Canada’s general manager Stéphane Maurais in his interview with CBC News. “It’s very easy to do.”

After applying a drop of the drink to the testing zones on the coaster for one or two minutes, they will turn dark blue if ketamine or GHB are detected. Since these drugs do not have a specific odour, colour, or taste when dissolved, it is very difficult to tell whether a drink has been spiked with them without testing.

According to Maurais, he had been increasingly concerned about the drug spiking problem after learning about the widespread use of date-rape drugs across Canada. “It looks like it’s everywhere,” he said.

Last summer, there was a large drug seizure that included date-rape drugs in British Columbia. Currently, on P.E.I., an ongoing legislative committee has been investigating the problem of drug spiking, after the issue was raised by recent media reports. Finally, in December in Quebec City, a bar was suspended after investigations have revealed the establishment being linked to numerous GHB spiking cases.

Maurais added that so far, colleges, universities, and bar owners have demonstrated interest in their coasters, while the Chicoutimi bar L’appartement bar ambiance had already ordered 1,500 coasters.

Mathieu Roy, the bar owner, had told CBC News that he had been looking for a way to combat drink spiking after customers raised concerns about it.

Furthermore, he added that he ordered the coasters to send a message that drug spiking will not be tolerated at his bar. “It’s good to be aware and for people to have tools,” said Roy. “It’s easy to do and it’s reassuring for the customers.”

So far, no tests have come back positive at Roy’s establishment.

While the coasters had cost Roy about two dollars each, he had been handing them out to customers for free. He added that other bar owners around town have come by to ask for some coasters for their establishments.

“Don’t leave your drink unattended and be cautious of accepting drinks from strangers,” said Marais. “You don’t want to take any chances with drink spiking.”

 

 

 

 

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