Montreal

These Laval-made coasters can tell if your drink has been spiked

Coasters created by this Laval-based company do more than just protect table tops from water stains — they detect whether a drink has been spiked. Here's how it works.

New coasters turn blue if they detect ketamine or GHB — the so-called date rape drug

Mathieu Roy, the owner of a bar in Chicoutimi, bought 1,500 drug-testing coasters. (Submitted by Stéphane Maurais)

With just one drop, these coasters can tell if a drink has been spiked.

Alco Prevention Canada, a business based in Laval that sells drug testing products, partnered with a company in Florida to get these dual-purpose coasters to market. 

"The only thing you have to do is take one drop of your drink and put it on the test," general manager Stéphane Maurais told CBC Montreal's Let's Go. "It's very easy to do."

On one side, there's a spot to test for traces of ketamine and on the other side there's a spot to test for GHB — drugs commonly used in date rape. 

After one or two minutes, the test zones turn dark blue if those drugs are detected. Without a test, it's tough to tell whether a drink has been drugged. Ketamine and GHB are odourless and tasteless when dissolved.

These new coasters test whether a drink has been spiked with ketamine or GHB. (Submitted by Stéphane Maurais)

Maurais said he'd been growing concerned about the drug spiking problem after learning how widespread the issue is across Canada.

"It looks like it's everywhere," he said.

This summer, there was a large drug seizure in British Columbia. On P.E.I., there's an ongoing legislative committee looking at the problem of drug spiking, after recent media reports raised the issue. Last month in Quebec City, a bar was suspended after investigators linked over a dozen GHB spiking cases to the establishment.

Maurais said so far colleges, universities and bar owners have showed their interest in the product.

One bar in Chicoutimi ordered 1,500 coasters.

Mathieu Roy, owner of L'appartement bar ambiance, said he had been looking for awhile for something he could do to combat drink spiking after customers raised concerns about it. 

Stéphane Maurais, general director at Alco Prevention Canada, tells Sabrina about how to coasters work.

He said 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," he said. "It's easy to do and it's reassuring for the customers."

So far, the bar has had no tests come back positive.

The coasters cost Roy about two dollars a piece. Since handing them out to customers for free, Roy said other bar owners around town have swung by and asked to grab a few coasters for their establishments.

While Maurais is still getting the word out about his company's new product, he has advice for anybody with or without a coaster: Don't leave your drink unattended and be cautious of accepting drinks from strangers. 

"You don't want to take any chances with drink spiking," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fenn Mayes

Journalist

Fenn Mayes is a journalist with CBC in Montreal.

With files from CBC Montreal's Let's Go

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