Police warn of possibility of date-rape drugs being found in modified vape cartridges


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“The method of ingesting these drugs may not just be drinks.”

Barnstable Police advised against sharing or using unknown vape cartridges. AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

Amid rising reports of date rape drugs – such as Rohypnol, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid or GHB and ketamine – found in Massachusetts bars, Barnstable police are warning the public of a new source of concern: vapes.

Police released a statement on Tuesday on new reports from local bar patrons that they are feeling the influence of date rape drugs. These symptoms can include ignoring the surroundings, losing memory, suddenly feeling groggy, or feeling drunk despite not drinking alcohol.

“As a result of ongoing investigation, information has developed that the method of ingestion of these drugs may not simply be drinks, it is possible that the substance is delivered via altered ‘vape’ cartridges” , we read in the message.

Barnstable Police advised against sharing or using unknown vape cartridges.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding “individuals or establishments selling or distributing ‘tampered’ vape cartridges” to contact the Barnstable Police Detective Unit at 508-778-3820.

This is not the first time Barnstable Police have issued a community advisory on the subject. On May 23, the ministry warned the public of an increase in reports of customers suffering from the aforementioned symptoms.

They said these date-rape drugs can be “odorless, colorless and tasteless” and encouraged the use of the “buddy system”, along with other precautions.

Ensuring alcoholic beverages are served directly by the bartender, never leaving a drink unattended, bringing a drink to the restroom if necessary, and covering drinks are all behaviors encouraged by the police department.

Police also said there are “several options on the market” to help detect date rape drugs in drinks.

One of them is SipChip, made by a company called Undercover Colors. The device is a small contraption, slightly resembling a single-serving cream that one might find at a local restaurant, capable of detecting date rape drugs. A drop of drink is put in the small container, the user waits 30 seconds, then two lines on one indicate whether this drink is positive or negative for drugs, respectively.

Another testing technology is called Knope from KnoNap, with similar testing mechanisms. The packaging of this device resembles a home COVID-19 test.



Boston

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