West Hollywood launches initiative to prevent spikes in consumption

By Susan Payne

Doping of drinks in bars and restaurants is a growing problem.

To stem this problem, the City of West Hollywood has approved a plan to purchase and distribute drink test strips to businesses and customers, designed to detect the presence of drugs such as ketamine or gamma hydroxybutyrate ( GHB).

City leaders and volunteers hit the streets of West Hollywood last month handing out free test strips, according to Fox LA.

One of the volunteers, Mito Aviles, told the news agency he thought the initiative was important for the community.

“I wanted to come out and help with this program because I think there’s an importance to what’s going on in our community in the sense of here in our LGBTQ community bars. I feel like it’s important and necessary that people know what’s in their drinks, where they’re going and that they don’t leave their drinks behind uncovered so this initiative helps with that so that it doesn’t There are no surprises,” Aviles said.

Sepi Shyne, Mayor Pro Tempore of the City of West Hollywood, took the initiative forward with Council Member John Erickson.

“We’ve looked at nightlife safety issues, and we really want to be ahead of the curve and in partnership with our nightlife because they’re all invested in helping to create a safer environment,” Shyne said. “We thought we would get these test strips and distribute them to our businesses.”

Earlier this year, the city council passed another article that deals with doping in drinks, requiring bars and restaurants to train bartenders on the issue.

“It’s a growing problem all over the region, and everywhere there are bars in the United States. This issue is happening, so we’re innovating as a city to get things done and let all the predators know you’ll be caught. We give people test strips so don’t come to our town anymore,” Shyne said.

During the volunteer handout, Keely Field, a member of the Women’s Advisory Council, shared her experience of having her drink spiked on city council. West Hollywood resident Shane Ivan Nash also addressed the council.

Nash said his drink was spiked and he was assaulted in December.

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