Content Warning: The following story includes references to sexual assault.
USC students will soon have access to free delivery of roofie test strips, a result of student-run delivery service Duffl and the nonprofit Trojan Awareness Combating Overdose, or TACO Inc..
The provision of benzodiaepine strips was sparked after the recent accusations of sexual assault (SA) and drugging at Sigma Nu.
“Duffl stands in unwavering solidarity with SA survivors in our community and across the world,” Duffl said in an Instagram post. “We share in the grief of senseless injustice, and the determination to end it. It is the duty of everyone in our community to actively work towards making USC a safe space.”
The provision of the test strips free to students was made possible by the Sexual Assault Fundraiser, for which there is now an option on the Duffl website to buy a $1 blue ribbon that goes towards the funding of the benzodiazepine strips.
At USC, 1 in 3 women have been sexually assaulted, according to a 2019 report. The illicit drug Rohypnol, otherwise known as a Roofie, is classified as a date-rape drug, according to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Roofies are often slipped into drinks, essentially paralyzing the recipient. This paralyzation period can last up to 12 hours and includes side effects like memory impairment, loss of muscle control, and drowsiness.
By partnering with TACO Inc., Duffl is able to raise both awareness and funds for free test strips, said USC Duffl Admiral Stefano Cafatti. He said he believes the test strips will help the community.
“It’s important to provide [test strips] for free because these strips can literally prevent someone from dying. Our whole business depends on students and TACO is saving lives, so it makes no sense to charge for them,” Cafatti said.
He estimates that Duffl has distributed more than 150 benzodiazepine test strips since making them available last Friday.
“Given our organization’s goal is to make test strips as accessible as possible, the partnership provided us with the opportunity to meet demand, increase accessibility, and above all, made it more convenient for those who wanted test strips,” said Sunya Chandi, TACO INC’s Chief Fundraising Officer.
Chandi said that the benzodiazepine test strips have been well received in the USC community, and that TACO Inc. has provided over 2,200 testing strips to Duffl.
“Moving to college and being independent is a whole new chapter of life for most students. While there’s significant excitement, there’s also significant responsibility,” Chandi said. “I think helping students make informed decisions is extremely important and it’s one of TACO’s main goals. This service supports that sentiment by providing students with the resources needed to allow them to make informed decisions with the hope of keeping them safe.”
Benzodiazepine test strips are available to order on Duffl website from 10 a.m. - 1 a.m.