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Bar workers support new CPD program that promotes safe drinking

Employees at bars in downtown Columbia said Monday night they’re on board with a new CPD program that promotes safe drinking and aims to prevent drug-related sexual assaults.

ABC 17 News reported Friday about the drink test strips the Columbia Police Department is handing out by request that allows people to test their drinks for date rape drugs.

Several employees at bars downtown said extra safety precautions are never a bad idea.

“Anything that can promote safe drinking, especially in a college town, is a wonderful idea,” said Kenny Townsend, a bartender at McNally’s.

Townsend said working in an environment where customers feel safe is very important.

He said he’s behind CPD’s new program 100 percent.

“It’s a glorious idea,” Townsend said. “I wish I had some [drink test strips] laying around here. The whole being drugged while out in public is always a pretty big issue. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen to our patrons.”

He said they’ve never had any problem with spiked drinks at their bar, but said they always encourage and promote safe drinking.

“Always be aware of what is around your drink,” Townsend said. “If something random seems to be floating in it or around it, don’t drink it, you know, bring it back up. We’ll give you another one. It’s not a big deal and it’s a lot better than the alternatives.”

He also encourages people who go out in groups to stay in groups, especially women.

“Don’t ever leave a lady behind,” Townsend said. “If you go out with four girls, make sure you go home with four girls.”

He said he hopes CPD will hand out the drink test strips to the bars and said he believes this could help reduce the number of drug-related sex assaults.

“One more level of safety never hurt anybody,” Townsend said.

The program is still a work in progress at CPD, but anyone interested in getting some of the test strips and a safety presentation can contact the Columbia Police Department at 573-874-7652.

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