Smart Straw Detects Date Rape Drugs

Written by Mike Awada on . Posted in Gadgets, Science

date-rape-drug

Doctor Michael Ioffe and Professor Fernando Patolsky at Tel-Aviv University are fine-tuning a straw that will signal to victims when and if they are the targets of a date rape drug attack.

The smart straw is casually dipped in a drink, and if it detects GHB or ketamine, the drink will almost instantaneously emit a clear alert. Initial tests of the smart straw have proven to be 100% accurate with zero false positives.

We reached out to Dr. Ioffe for an update on the important invention. There was concern last year that the product wouldn’t be able to detect rohypnol, the most common date rape drug. The doctor informed Astounde that testing of the straw on rohypnol (roofies) is well underway and that the results “look very optimistic, but there is still work to be done.”

Dr. Ioffe continued, “We hope that shortly we will have sufficient funding to continue the project.” If that funding is received, the team expects to have a beta prototype sometime in mid to late 2013 and they anticipate a “fully operational and customer oriented device” to soon follow.

The research team is still undecided on the final method of alerting the victim, debating between a number of visual signals including a light, a cloud within the drink, and sending a text alert.

Dr. Ioffe expects the straw to be reusable a number of times up until a positive identification is made. The final product is expected to be affordable, as the chemical that is able to detect these otherwise undetectable drugs is both inexpensive to produce and non-toxic.

While it’s important to understand that binge drinking can be just as dangerous as a date rape drug, the smart straw will provide a crucial warning to women when something isn’t right. Women also need to learn as much as they can about how these drugs are used, because getting enough substance misuse information is crucial to avoiding becoming a victim.

The smart straw will be an invaluable tool that every woman can easily carry in her purse. Savvy bar owners will undoubtedly offer these for free barside as well. Hats off to Ioffe and Patolsky for stepping up to address this dangerous issue.


Michael Ioffe, Ph.D

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Comments (3)

  • Mike

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    For those that are interested, my startup, DrinkSavvy (https://www.facebook.com/SavvyTechnology) is also close to developing products to prevent drug rape. Basically, we are developing products that look and function just like regular cups, glasses, straws, stirrers, and swizzle sticks, except that if a rape drug is slipped into your drink, they will immediately provide a visible color change, even in low lit areas, warning you to throw your drink out before you consume the drug.

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  • Observer

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    Too bad there is a need for something like this, well, I guess if humans weren’t capable of evil, we wouldn’t have horror flicks. Too bad the victims in the movies never remember they shouldn’t stand around screaming, shouldn’t go in that scary place, should get outta dodge at the first sign of trouble and should stick together. Great inventions though.

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  • Lisa H

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    Brilliant!

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