Posted in | Chemical Sensor

Swizzle Stick that Detects Date Rape Drugs

Scientists in Israel at the Tel Aviv University have been working on a sensor based device that will be able to detect two of the most commonly used date rape drugs with great accuracy. The device, that may look like a cocktail stirrer in the final form, will allow women to check if their drink has been spiked with ketamine or GHB.

Fernando Patolsky, chemistry professor at Tel Aviv University and co-creator of the device said that it samples a very small volume of the drink and mixes it with a testing solution. That causes a chemical reaction that makes the solution turn cloudy or colored, depending on the drug.

If the drug is found the reaction will turn on a tiny red light in the device and let the person know that the drink has been tampered with and should not be consumed. Making the sensor fast, accurate and affordable was no small feat but Patolsky and his partner Michael Ioffe thought it was a necessary safeguard against date rape.

Statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network said that one in six women is likely to be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. 73% of these victims are likely to know their assailants well enough and trust them.

The director of National institute on Drug Abuse , Dr Robert DuPont said that alcohol laced with drugs was a big problem when it came to unwelcome sexual encounters.

The inventors hope the device will be available for sale in two years time. They are also working on a different alert than the red light. It may take the form of an sms to your mobile phone, but the details to that are yet to be worked out.

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