I tested my drink during a night out with my friends, and I'm so glad I did.

By Samantha Lauriello
September 27, 2018
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When Friday rolls around and the stress of the week is finally behind you, the only thing you really want to do is head to happy hour and laugh with your friends. You switch your mind off and order a round of spicy margaritas for the table (and half-priced guac, obviously).

This scene is all too familiar to my friends and me, and it’s exactly what we did this past Friday night. But this week we added something new to our routine. I tucked a new testing kit made by Undercover Colors into my pocket and used it to check my drink for drug tampering.

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You might think that sounds paranoid. Yet we've all heard plenty of scary stories. A woman goes to a bar or party, orders a drink, and takes her eye off her glass long enough for a creep to put something in it that incapacitates her so she can't fight off a sexual assault.

My friends and I are very alert and aware. But it's ridiculously easy to forget about babysitting your drink when you’re getting together and decompressing after a long week. Plus, we tend to hang out on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where happy hour on a Friday looks like a pack of parched desert animals finding a watering hole. In a crowded bar with so many distractions, it's hard to be 100% vigilant.

It's impossible to know just how prevalent drug-facilitated sexual assault is. Many cases go unreported, and no reliable statistics exist to quantify how often it happens. But the #MeToo movement has opened our eyes to sexual assault in general, and the case of Bill Cosby—who admitted to putting prescription sedatives in women's drinks so he could have sex with them—has dominated the media. (Cosby was just convicted and sentenced to 3-10 years in prison.)

While I’m not usually a worrier, I decided to order the kit to see how it worked, and if it was something we could use regularly when we go out, just to be on the safe side.

There are a number of tests out there, like Sabre's strips and DrinkSafe's coasters, which both test for GHB and ketamine (two common date rape drugs). But the Undercover Colors test can detect a wider range of drugs, including flunitrazepam (roofies), alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and a few others. This option seemed to be the most discreet and simple to use.

Each Undercover Colors single-use test is about the size of a quarter, making it convenient to slip into your purse or pocket. I kept one in my pocket and the rest in my purse (the starter kit comes with five tests), which made it easy for me to pull one out when I wanted to use it. All I'd have to do is put a drop of my drink on the test sheet, and seconds later I'd know if it had been tampered with.

I decided to try it out when I got up to go to the bathroom. As I left my seat, I didn’t tell my friends to watch my drink like I usually do. When a woman sidetracked me by complimenting my pants (and of course, me then complimenting her shoes), I didn’t worry about my friends forgetting my drink and rush back to my table; I could spend a little time chatting with my stylish new friend. 

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When I finally returned to the table, a second round of chips and guac had been placed in the center, and my drink was exactly where I'd left it. After opening the test and dabbing a drop of my drink onto it under the table, two lines popped up within about 20 seconds telling me that my drink was drug-free. My friends hadn’t even noticed that I tested it.

I’ll be honest, it was so much easier to trust the test to give me the lowdown on my drink than to trust that my friends hadn’t taken their eyes off of it while I was in the bathroom. Even if they had watched it closely, I have no doubt the new bowl of guac would've stolen their attention when it came out. I mean, how could it not?

Had one line shown up on the meter—meaning my drink had been drugged—we would have known it was time to leave our drinks and head to another bar, no question about it. 

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Having the test to keep me completely informed was seriously liberating. My friends and I also realized we could also use it on each other’s drinks if we thought one of us was acting strange or felt sick out of the blue. By relying on a drug test like this one, you’re not only protecting yourself but also the women around you.

I'm going to continue tucking the test in my purse so I have it on me whenever I go out, and I think it's a smart idea for other women to do this too. You never know when you could find yourself in an uncertain situation. Even if you don’t plan on using it, you could potentially save a friend, or even a stranger, from becoming a drug tampering victim.