California to Implement Law That Requires Drug Testing Kits for Drinks at Bars and Clubs

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jan 11, 2024

The state of California has officially passed a law that requires all bars and nightclubs to have drug testing kits readily available for customers. 

Most Californians are hoping that this new law will help decrease the number of crimes occurring relating to drink spiking, and if it works, other states may follow suit. 

What Is Drink Spiking?

Drink spiking is when an assailant adds substances, usually sedatives such as GHB, ketamine, or Rohypnol, secretly to a victim’s drink. 

Man’s hand spiking a drink with a pink pill as women dance in the background

Source: Shutterstock

Then, once the drugs alter the mental and physical state of the victim, the assailant is able to take advantage of the victim and assault them.

Spiking Statistics

Before understanding California’s new law, it’s first essential to know just how big a problem drink spiking is in the USA. 

Whiskey cocktail on a bar

Source: Freepik

According to a study conducted by, of 969 people, 44% of men and 56% of women, “women unknowingly consumed spiked food or drinks.” And 37% of the study had been spiked more than once. 

Drink Spiking Is Significantly Increasing

The Guardian recently reported that the police believe there was five times as much drink spiking in 2023 as there was five years before. 

Woman accepting a drink from a bartender

Source: Freepik

Of course, being drugged is extremely dangerous for victims for many reasons, and frustratingly, it’s also extremely difficult to prosecute. The drugs have been ingested, and all the police have to go on is the victim’s version of the events, which are usually hazy from the alcohol and drugs. 

Testing Kits Are the Only Way to Tell if a Drink Has Been Spiked

In fact, even when the drugs are still in a drink, it’s impossible to tell with the naked eye as they are completely translucent. 

Drink spiking test kits available on Amazon

Source: Amazon

Luckily, there are testing kits that can show if a drink has been spiked. When the paper within the test kit touches the liquid, it will immediately change color when drugs are present. 

California’s Drink Testing Kit Law

So, in order to combat this ever-growing issue and keep its residents safe, California has decided to make drug testing kits a requirement in all nightclubs and bars.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to a crowd

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Governor Newsom and his team’s new law states that all bars and nightclubs within the state must have drug testing kits on site, as well as a sign that informs customers they are available. 


Will Drug Testing Kits in California Be Free?

The law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2024, specifies that the establishment can decide for itself whether they want to give away the test kits for free or charge for them. 

A busy bartender serves drinks at a nightclub

Source: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

However, as the test kits are extremely affordable (Amazon sells 20 for $15), it’s likely that even if the bar or nightclub does decide to charge, the tests won’t be very expensive. 


California’s Response to the New Drink Spiking Law

The vast majority of California residents have responded positively to the new law requiring drink spiking tests, as there are really no downsides to having the tests readily available. 

Bartender holds a tray with several cocktails

Source: Freepik

And although it does mean more work for bar owners and their employees, they are arguably the most excited about it. 


How California Bars Feel About Drink Spiking Tests

Co-owner of Number One 5th Avenue, a bar in San Diego, Brian Jinings, told the press exactly why he and his staff are thrilled with the new law. 

A very crowded bar

Source: @Backstage Bar & Grill/Facebook

He said, “(When) it’s really crowded in here it’s really difficult to really keep an eye on everything, so having a tool that’s available where a customer or employee to take control in their own hands and be able to really look out for themselves is a plus.”


A Rare Few Don’t Approve of California’s Newest Law

Although they are few and far between, there are some who don’t believe that California’s new drink spiking test law is what’s best for the state. 

Post on X by @BenColeman6

Source: @BenColeman6/X

Some argue that this plan will cost the taxpayer money, which is a sensitive subject at the moment as California is already making headlines for its ever-increasing taxes. 


The Rest of the Country May Not Be Far Behind

However, the general consensus among residents, business owners, and local governments is that this plan is certainly worth exploring if it can help keep people safe. 

Screenshot of announcements on X about drink testing kits throughout the USA

Source: @wbznewsradio/@NYDailyNews/X

The Massachusetts Senate and the NYC council already have plans in place to require testing kits in their bars and nightclubs, and it’s highly likely that others will follow suit. 


Will the California Drink Spiking Law Deter Crime?

It’s too soon to say for sure, but California authorities anticipate that this law will absolutely decrease the number of drink spikings and attacks throughout the state. 

Friends drinking alcoholic drinks in a bar

Source: Freepik

And many hope that having the drink test kits readily available won’t just ensure people know when they’ve been spiked, but also deter criminals from doing so in the first place. By the end of 2024, California will see how well the law actually works.