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Date Rape Drugs ---Best Tips to Detect Them in Your Drinks

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September 1, 2017

By ARIADNE WEINBERG, Featured Columnist

 








In university, the only thing you should really be worried about are your studies and your happiness. Not whether someone has slipped GHB, rohypnol, or ketamine into your drink because they want to rape you.


However, one thing is idealism and another is life. While date rape drugs are quite prevalent on university campuses, they are still present in bars and sometimes even in houses for the older generation.


I was lucky and didn’t fall into the 1 in 5 women in the U.S. statistic of being raped, either in a bar context or otherwise. However, many are not so lucky. I remember multiple conversations concerning being careful about who I was drinking with at the bar in order to avoid date rape drugs being dropped into my booze.


So, what exactly is date rape? The Merriam Webster definition is quite literal: Rape committed by the person’s date.


However, the Urban Dictionary definition of date rape gets more specific: They refer to the common method of spiking someone’s drink with a sedative drug such as GHB or rohypnol. Then they wait until the substance takes effect, supposedly “help” the “drunk” person into a taxi or car, and rape them in a secluded place. The idea is that their victim will offer no resistance, and because they are semi-unconscious, they won’t remember the experience.  


Statistics on Rape Paint an Ugly Picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There are multiple and conflicting statistics on date rape as well as other kinds of sexual violence.


However, let’s debunk a key myth first: Rape is not generally something done by some mentally ill pervert in a back alley. 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, according to the RAINN Institute.


The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. will be raped at some point in their lives.


1 in 10 women and 1 in 45 men have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. This statistic points the closest to date rape, usually performed by someone the person knows.


The RAINN institute, which compiles statistics from the National Crime Victimization Survey as well as the Department of Justice Bureau statistics, cites that 45% of violations are committed by acquaintances, 28% by strangers, 25% by a current or former romantic partner, 6% by more than one person or a person that the victim can’t remember, and 1% by a non-spouse relative.


Those are some scary numbers.


If you are like me, you have the desire to just eliminate violence and rape culture and reconstruct a new and better nurturance culture from scratch.


However, that will take a fair amount of time, and in the meanwhile, unfortunate non-consensual sexual encounters still occur.  


Given that, many have developed some short term solutions to deal with the presence of date rape drugs in drinks.



Smart Straws


We know we have a broken society when high school students have rape on their radar. However, turning to the positive, they did create some excellent tools to combat the problem.


Three Florida high-schoolers, Susana Cappello, Carolina Baigorri, and Victoria Roca created a straw that turns blue in the presence of of ketamine and GHB. They won the Miami Herald Business Plan award for their good work.


A straw seems like a pretty practical solution; throw the slurpy tool in your bag, get to the bar, and you’re good to go. Luckily, the straw won’t contaminate your drink with any chemicals, so if blue doesn’t appear, you can still keep sipping.


DrinkSavvy Cups and Straws


Innovative inventor Michael Abramson was inspired to combat drugged drinks when he was “roofied” (the nice slang term for having a date rape drug put in your drink).


With the help of two Worcester Polytechnic Institute Chemists, they developed both cups and straws that detect date rape drugs. If the drink has been spiked with GHB, rohypnol, or ketamine, the cup or straw changes color.


The cup gets stylish red stripes; the straw simply changes from clear to red.


DrinkSavvy wants the cups to become the new safety standard for bars. However, many traditional glassware enthusiasts and cocktail snobs may just prefer to carry the straw.



Can Cranberry Juice Really Block Date Rape Drugs?


What if you forget your handy straw or cup? Is there something you can use that’s already at the bar?


Cranberry juice is delicious and full of antioxidants. Also, vodka-cranberry drinks are one of life’s little joys.


The greater underlying question, however, is whether they help block the inebriating effects of date rape drugs.


While the belief is that they can, the only evidence pertaining to cranberry juice is an incident in the 1980s where a woman on a cranberry juice diet remembered enough about the attack to bring two serial rapists to justice, according to Encyclopedia of Mind Enhancing Foods, Drugs, and Nutritional Substances by David W. Group.


According to Ronald Siegel’s book Fire in the Brain, cranberry juice does boost your memory to help you remember incidents while drugged.


I wouldn’t rely on the fruit juice or expect reversed effects, given the lack of comprehensive studies. However, if you like cranberry juice anyway, slurp away.


Nail Polish?!  


I remember talking to my friend a few years ago, and she mentioned to me that her cousin had developed a nail polish to detect date rape drugs.


“Well, that’’s creative and different,” I said.


That cousin was Tyler Confrey-Maloney. With Ankesh Madan, Stephen Grey, and Tasso Von Windheim, fellow colleagues and students from North Carolina State University, they invented a nail polish.


The name: Undercover Colors.


The product was under a certain amount of scrutiny and criticism from some because they believed the product was yet another example of putting the responsibility on the victim.


On their Facebook page, the Undercover Colors team said, “Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime.”


Critics didn’t think that the nail polish was an overall great solution.

Erin Gloria Ryan, writer for Jezebel, said that more sexual education, less manicures, were needed. She wrote, "Teach men that having sex with women too incapacitated to consent is rape.”

What to do


I am absolutely in agreement that the holistic solution is to improve sex education and increase nurturance instead of rape culture. However, I do believe that products such as nail polish, cups, and straws, can exist alongside education.


While rape primarily affects women, other genders are also impacted, and the problem is societal no matter which side of the equation you are on. Erasure of anyone’s experiences is not productive. However, since the overwhelming majority of rape cases are perpetrated by men, the first step will probably be men starting a different, more functional version of masculinity.


Meanwhile, we have the short term resources of dipping our nails and straws into drinks or bringing our own special cups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related:

The Secret Reason Some People Never Get Sick

7 Foods Men with High Blood Pressure Should Eat

High Blood Pressure and Diabetes Diet

What Your Fingernails Say About Your Health

 

 

 


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