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Cocaine Wipes for Pubs and Bars

Cocaine wipes are ideal for use in pubs and clubs where the licensee is concerned about cocaine usage on their premises.  These easy-to-use, cocaine wipes can be used to spot check toilets – the place where users most commonly prepare and snort cocaine. The wipes can be swabbed over areas such as toilet cisterns and seats to detect traces of the drug, with results in seconds.

Many pubs and bars have started using cocaine test swabs in recent years in order to clamp down on cocaine usage on their premises.  Many police forces across the UK also use these tests for special operations where a number of licensed premises are targeted for testing on busy Friday and Saturday nights. Recent police operations have taken place in pubs and bars in Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire and Surrey.

Cocaine Usage Is Problem for the Licensee

Cocaine wipes are a cost-effective way for licensees to make sure that their premises are not being used to take the drug. as the wipes can be used to monitor areas where drugs may be snorted. This is important as not tackling a drug problem in your pub could result in a criminal conviction and loss of your premises licence.

Bars And Pubs Are Losing Their Alcohol Licences

Below are  a couple of examples of the dangers that bar owners and managers face if they ignore drug  taking on their premises.

In December 2019, a prominent cocktail bar in Brighton had its alcohol licence withdrawn after high levels of cocaine were discovered in the toilets. Three drug swab tests had been failed by the bar over a period of seven months. As well as cocaine, traces of heroin and methamphetamine were also discovered in the investigation.

The owners of the bar made changes which included removing flat surfaces from the toilets. However this was seen as too little, too late by the licensing panel.

In September 2019, the Black Swan pub in Spalding saw its premises licence withdrawn after “persistent drug offences”. Police swabbed surfaces and found traces of cocaine in the toilets. Drug residue was also found on the snooker table and on gaming machines.

Police were aware of a drug problem in the pub, dating back to 2011. For many years the pub had been monitored, The management were advised that changes need to take place. However a full zero tolerance drugs policy was never implemented.

In July 2019, a national tabloid newspaper reported that “rampant cocaine abuse” was a big problem for UK pubs. The report spoke of one landlord who was spraying pub surfaces with WD40 in order to make them useless for drug taking! The article reported that police were now recommending that pub owners should regularly swab their premises for drugs.

How to use Cocaine Wipes

Cocaine wipes are really simple to use. They are based on a chemical which reacts when it comes into contact with cocaine. The wipe is removed from its packaging. The suspect area is then swabbed to detect even the smallest amount of cocaine residue. If any trace of the drug is found, the wipe instantly turns blue. The wipes offer a simple pass or fail test. If nothing happens, cocaine is not present. If they turn blue, it is. The wipes are sensitive enough to detect around one milligram of the drug.

The cocaine wipe can be used on any dry surface in almost any environment.  Even if there are no visible powder remains from the drugs, the test can still work as it can detect even the smallest amount of the drug.

Cocaine wipes should not be used on human skin. (In these situations, saliva and urine screens for cocaine are more suitable.)

When using the cocaine wipes, we recommended that latex gloves are worn to protect the skin from the chemical reagents. This will also reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Results are instant with these wipes as the colour change occurs almost immediately. At present, there is no commercial confirmation test available for these wipes, but the accuracy and reliability of the wipes is high.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2015.
Photo: “Please don’t” (CC BY 2.0) by Lachlan Hardy
Zoom Testing is a leading UK supplier of Drug Testing Kits


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