Could Cups and Straws Prevent Date Rape?

Written by Natasha Turner

Each year it is estimated that across the nation, 1 out of every 6 women has been the victim of attempted or complete rape in her lifetime. Millions of those completed or attempted assaults are facilitated by drink spiking — and 80 percent of the victims are women.

The company DrinkSavvy is trying to change these statistics. By developing cups, glasses and straws that change color at the detection of invisible drugs, it hopes to make bars and clubs safe spaces for all.

Garnering support and funding from grants and a public fundraising platform, company founder Mike Abramson from Boston worked with Worcester Polytechnic Institute chemistry professor John MacDonald. Together they created a practical test for GHBketamine and rohypnol—the most common drugs used in drink spiking.

One can already check for drugs with litmus tests, but those are cumbersome and beverages must be repeatedly tested. Abramson’s products aim to make testing for drugs easy and effective.

Abramson has already received interest from bars and clubs worldwide, and hopes to encourage “bars, clubs, and colleges to make DrinkSavvy the new safety standard.” The technology can even be used by drink companies to make their standard serving bottles and cans drink-savvy as well.

Although public distribution isn’t expected until 2014, venue owners and drink brands are invited to join a mailing list to receive the latest release and pricing information. Shipping to fundraising contributors is set to happen next month.

This post was originally published in Ms. Magazine

Photo Credit: Derrick Coetzee

100 comments

Lauren Berrizbeitia

Brilliant.

Kevin Reeder
Kevin Reeder3 years ago

Interesting idea but I don't see the cups being able to take effect on a wide scale. Most people don't realize this but the shape and color of glasses at bars, clubs and pubs have reason. Through years of social research they have assumed the optimal shapes and sizes and shades to "trick" a customer into thinking they've had less than they actually have, and then spend more money. Just for that reason it's doubtful you will find restaurants willing to adopt the cups. The straw is ingenious though. You could easily use it without interfering with the drink, and would also be easy to store in bulk. Our culture does need to change, for this reason and many others. We live in a bully culture where it is accepted and even encouraged to take advantage of others when they can't protect themselves. Sadly, even if we manage to change that there will always be good reason for these defenses. Some people are just nasty, social norm or no.

Liz Taylor
Liz Taylor3 years ago

Brilliant idea, my boyfriend and I were recently drugged at a local pub. They overdosed me and I had a seizure and stopped breathing, luckily for us as we cannot remember a thing there were good people around that noticed something was wrong and took care of us.

Tim C.
Tim C3 years ago

ty

Christine W.
Christine W3 years ago

What a fantastic invention! Kudos the the researchers and developers!

Mary L.
Mary L3 years ago

I'm so sad that this is necessary. I am so glad someone created this. I so wish that it weren't necessary.

janet t.
janet t3 years ago

I've got a funny feeling that they will find a way around it. But then, it might work for a while and that would help some women.

Lynn C.
Lynn C3 years ago

ty

Stef F.
Stevie A3 years ago

What a blessing! A woman could order her own supply of straws and be sure of her safety - on that count at least!
AND yes, we do need to change the culture that diminishes women, their needs, accomplishments, rights...
Let's start with making FEmale GENeric in our language! She includes he, GodDESS includes God, WOman includes man, you get the idea. And, EVERY human starts in the womb as a FEmale ~

Sharon R.
Sharon R3 years ago

What next will they think of? Sounds good.