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No more drink spiking: ‘Mchele’ detecting strips introduced in Kenya but..


A medical lab in Nairobi, DNA Testing Services is supplying Check Your Drink (CYD) strips to Kenyans. The strips, DNA Testing Services says are meant to curb the cases of spiked night revelers and are available in the country for the first time.

76% of people know somebody who has had their drink spiked a, 2014 University of Bath research revealed. That in a quick break down means that every seven out of ten people know someone who has had a ‘mchele’ experience.

Speaking to SDE, Kinyanjui Murigi, Head of Marketing from DNA Testing Services said they had decided to import the CYD because of the persistent cases of drink spiking. “We got our first batch on the 24th December, and we hope we will be able to help out people” he said.

Being a new concept of solving a rather wide spread problem experienced by revelers, the company’s ads were quickly shared on WhatsApp and social media.

This new development comes at a time when ‘mchele operators’ and their spiking accomplices are changing tact on delivering dose to unsuspecting revelers.

Drugging initially targeted young women, mostly on date-rape occasions hence the drug used for the vice was coined date-rape drugs.

The trend seem to have however shifted to male revelers being a target of rogue night club criminals. Dr Omondi Beatrice, a private practitioner, explained that “In most instances, the drug is dropped into their alcohol, or they inhale or men suck it from breasts of the women.”

That for unsuspecting men, would be an enticing trap that would induce them to drowsiness, slurry speech and eventual night of unconsciousness.

Known world wide as the date rape drug, Rohypnol is banned in United States and most European countries but remains the most common prescription drugs used in spiking cases in the Kenya.  This is attributed to rogue pharmacist who freely sell them over the counter.

The other dangerous drugs used by these criminals is GHB which comes in the form of a liquid or powder and its effects are near instant. Given that it is odourless and colourless, most victims would be highly unlikely to detect and would wake up to new day with empty pockets if they are lucky to have their clothes on. For women it can be a disaster as it could easily end in rape.

Dr Robert Kakuta, a pharmacist in an earlier interview with The Standard, said that the effects of drink spiking differ for each person as the reactions differ based on a person’s age, sex, size and on what type of drug or alcoholic beverage was given.

"The most common effects include unconsciousness, inability to protect ones’ self, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, poor coordination and sleepiness," Dr Kakuta said in the interview.

But DNA Services’ Kinyanjui explained that although they were yet to distribute the strips, their main target were brewers and bars. “We could sell these at pharmacies, but it would make more sense if the strips were available in bars,” He said.

 DNA testing service Ad on CYD

Kinyanjui said that they were targeting breweries as distribution channels to bars and clubs across the country because “they know clubs better”.

“No, we will not be selling them on retail to individuals,” he answered when asked if they will have them sold on retail.

The CYD which were first launched in 2014, by two childhood friends in the UK, works in rather simple basic way. It does not invoke rocket science brain nor does it demand any mechanics and mixing.  These are just simple strips that you place a drop of your drink to test for any mchele.

It more or less works like the litmus paper. Remember those Blue strips back in chemistry labs in high school that turned red under acidic conditions? Yes, they work exactly the same way except that the liquid in question is your liquor or beer in your local.

You can as well dip your finger into your drink and touch each of the strips. There are two strips in the package each for the prominent drugs used for Spiking: GHB and Ketamine

If the strips detects GHB, and or Ketamine they will instantly change colour.

During its launch in 2014 Cosmopolitan applauded it as a “brilliant idea for safety,” but expressed concern on “the sad state of affairs that we have to take such precautions.”

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