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Stir then Drink: Israeli Scientists Create Date Rape Drug Detector

Stir then Drink: Israeli Scientists Create Date Rape Drug Detector

 

Women have always been told to keep an eye on their cocktails when out.

Don’t leave your drinks unattended. Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Do bring your drink with you wherever you go, even the ladies room.

We know the drill, but what if I told you there was a new way to ensure your drink is safe?

Date Rape Drug Detector

Israeli scientists Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University’s school of chemistry, have created a sensor that can detect two of the most popular date rape drugs in drinks. So far the sensor has been 100% effective in detecting GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and ketamine.

“You just dip it into your drink…And you don’t even have to hold it up to the light and the system will let you know whether there are drugs dissolved in your drink,” says Ioffe. “The drug itself is reacting with this chemical formulation and the previously clear formula becomes dirty and when the light shines it you can detect it.”

The sensor has been tested on a variety of popular cocktails and soft drinks with great results. The sensors are also cheap to produce and would not require government approval to begin production. The scientists estimate that the first batch of sensors could be commercially available in about a year and a half.

Too Early To Celebrate

While the sensor seems to be promising so far, it might be too early to celebrate. For one, the device does not yet detect Rohypnol, another popular date rape drug more commonly known as a “roofie.”  The scientists are working to expand the device’s detention capacity to read Rohypnol, but what about other drugs that might be used? In addition, the article mentions nothing of testing done on wine or beer which are many women’s drinks of choice.

Also, practically speaking I’m not sure how effective this device will be to use. When are you supposed to test your drink? How will you be able to read the results?

The scientists aren’t sure yet either.

“We haven’t decided how it will let you know. Maybe it will just light up or a part of it will rotate or maybe it will send a signal to your cell phone because you want to be discreet about it.”

I agree that discretion is absolutely key. I would be amazed if the device could text your phone the results.  Ioffe also mentions that the final production of the device might look like a stirrer, which is a clever idea, but who brings their own stirrer to a bar? Would bars be required to use the devices? Now that’s an idea!

What do you think? Would you purchase a date rape drug detector test? More importantly, would you bring one out with you and use it?

Related by Care2:

Alleged Rape Victim Eman al-Obeidy Receives Asylum in the U.S.

Men Who Pay For Sex Are More Likely to Commit Crimes

What The Jamie Leigh Jones Verdict Says about Rape Culture

Read more: , , , ,

Photo credit: Photo by fibroblast (Kerstin Wellekötter) used with a Creative Commons license.

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86 comments

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10:40PM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

a usefull tool......people drug people for all sorts of nefarious reasons.......

2:17AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

I once knowingly took a "roofie" experimentally. It made Me feel super drunk minus nausea and incoordnation. After noting the effects, I just went to sleep.

2:09AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

It's a step in the right direction. I was slipped a drug at least twice...2 day black-outs with no hangover oddly enough.

1:57AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

Thanks for the info!

6:30PM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

why didn't any figure this out back in the 90s. twin serial rapist raped dozen of women by giving them the rape drug, the women would wake up after being raped. but women & men should never accept drinks for anyone

4:40AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Interesting.

7:12AM PDT on May 20, 2013

Good to know. Thanks.

4:33AM PDT on May 15, 2013

Hope there're fewer cases of this kind

11:42PM PDT on May 14, 2013

"HEY MEN, YOU TREAT US RIGHT AND YOU WILL PROBABLY GET ENOUGH SEX TO KEEP YOU GOING FOR MONTHS ON END. Women love sex, for the most part; we just want to be safe in doing it!!!

You men NEVER would have to resort to drugs in the drink...when we feel respected, that is a HUGE step forward - for YOU!!!! Try it, with as much sincerity as you can muster, and see if it doesn't work!!! Yes, safety and respect are big items for us...and again, they will get you a looooong way!!!!!"

I would like to respond to this in two parts:

1. This is just not realistic. You're telling all men in general that if they just respect women they'll get laid. That's just not how it works. Men only get laid if the person they want to have sex with is attracted to them in some way AND is willing to act on that attraction. Not all women are sexually attracted to respect, just as not all women will act on whatever attraction they feel.

2. Rapists are not trying to force women to have sex because they feel like they need more sex. Rape is an act of violence, not sex. Rapists rape because they hate women and like to hurt them. So telling men in general that they need to respect women because rapists are raping is like telling all women that they need to stop spending money because some men don't like their jobs. It's a non-sequitur.

11:36PM PDT on May 14, 2013

I don't see what the problem would be. If I were a woman I would make a show of using these every time I drank at a bar or other venue like that. If everyone knows you use it ever time, then nobody gets offended. Plus, even if they couldn't text your phone, you could still see the discoloration or light on the stirrer.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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