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Eugene business attempts to distribute coasters that test for date rape drugs



MedTech Resource is a local company that manufactures safety products – from IV bags to bulletproof backpacks. About a year and a half ago, they developed coasters that change colors when they come into contact with a liquid that has GHB or ketamine in it.

The company is currently collaborating with Courtside and Skybox apartments to try to distribute the coasters to campus area bars and sororities, but have been met with some resistance.

Michael Coombs, a MedTech employee, said the company’s limited success is a matter of public image.

“No one really bit. There was a lot of bars that were afraid if they started using them that it would say to their customers that theirs is not a safe bar,” Coombs said. “It should have been doing the opposite. The more hands these coasters are in, the more bars that are serving these with their drinks, the more lives that can be saved.”

Michael Modrich, the owner of MedTech, had something similar to say.

“It’s a sensitive subject. A lot of people want to put their head in the sand and not pay attention to it,” Modrich said. “We’ve made them available, some people just don’t want to know about it.”

While MedTech did not disclose which campus bars turned them down, not all were opposed to the idea.

Kim Fairbairn, one of the owners of Max’s, encouraged the coasters.

“I would totally welcome a product like that,” said Fairbairn. “The more that places have that or do that the less it occurs.”

Agate Alley office manager Addie Coy likes the idea of coasters that test for roofies, but she’s skeptical when it comes to their accuracy.

“It wouldn’t deter me as a guest, I would more just be concerned about how trustworthy they are. I would be more concerned about what else could set it off,” she said.

Haley Osborn, a customer at Taylor’s Bar and Grill, said she thinks the coasters would have the desired effect.

“I think it would only scare the bad ones away. People that have the wrong intentions,” Osborn said.

As far as MedTech’s involvement with Courtside and Skybox, Michael Coombs’ sister, Sandra, is the manager at the apartments and was able to strike a deal with her brother’s employer. Modrich said that he was surprised with the popularity of the coasters. “She just mentioned it to a few people in her office and the next day they had people coming by asking, ‘When can we get those?’ ” Modrich said.

MedTech is currently in talks with Taylor’s Bar and Grill to begin distributing the coasters. While the idea of the coasters is well received by many patrons, the coasters’ pricing and effectiveness still have to prove themselves as adequate. The coasters, which can be purchased on MedTech’s website, are available for anywhere from $1.90 to $3.49, depending on the size of the order.


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Wes Franco

Wes Franco