Testing It Up

Researchers Working on Date Rape Drug Sensor

One in six women may experience sexual assault in her lifetime, according to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), and 73 percent of those who do become victims know their assailants.

Among the situations that victims may find themselves in is date rape, and a product has been developed to help prevent women from falling into this trap.

Israeli scientists shared that they were able to develop a device that has 100 percent ability to detect two of the drugs most commonly used for date rape. Based on outward appearances, the device would appear to be a regular stirrer or straw; what it does, however, is check whether your drink has been spiked with a date rape drug. This will tip users off to forget about the drink and the date, and make a beeline for the door.

Fernando Patolsky, co-creator for the device and a chemistry professor at Tel Aviv University, shared how the device works. “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 cloudy or colored, depending on the drug,” he shared. Users are alerted through a tiny red light, which turns on when a reaction does occur.

The scientists took pains to make the sensor fast and accurate, but very affordable, to ensure that it will eventually be possible for the everyday woman to own one. Patolsky said that it may cost less than a drink in the bar, and may be used several times, until it reacts with a drug. It can detect GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and ketamine, although the developers are working on having it detect Rohypnal, or “ruffies,” within the year.

August 7, 2011 at 5:57 am Comments (0)

Important Tips to Prevent Date Rape

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we would like to share an article on www.Testcountry.org that provides self-defense tips on how to prevent date rape.

This year’s theme is the prevention of sexual violence in campuses, where cases of date rape are reportedly on the rise. The sad thing about date rape is that since it is something that usually happens between two people who know each other – a classmate, roommate or ex-boyfriend – it usually goes unreported.

date rape drugsThe first tip talks about first dates. If possible, schedule these during the day – and do a double date (or maybe even a group date) with a couple that you are familiar with or who will be having a date in the same venue. And have a first date at a public place and do not ask someone you are dating for the first time to pick you up from home or from your dorm alone.

Next, protect yourself from accidentally ingesting date rape drugs by not taking alcohol, since this is what attackers use to dilute roofies and whatnot. Besides, if you are under 21, you should not be taking alcohol anyway.

Also, be careful about your demeanor when you are out with someone, or even when attending a party. Sometimes, one’s actions may lead potential attackers into singling you out as prey for the night. Then, do not show a man that you hardly know that you are afraid of him.

Another useful reminder that was given to us was to never let one’s drinks out of one’s sight, and to never accept a drink from a stranger. True, having a martini suddenly arrive at your table courtesy of the cute leather coat guy (credit to Christina Applegate’s character Courtney in The Sweetest Thing) is flattering and sexy; but it is not safe.

April 24, 2010 at 5:06 am Comment (1)

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Date Rape Drugs

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and April 21 is observed as Denim Day. According to a feature on Lake County News, the “Denim Day California!” campaign started in 1999 as a move in protest against the decision of an Italian Health Court to overturn the conviction of a 45-year-old rapist who was accused of raping an 18-year-old girl. The reason? The girl reportedly wore tight jeans, and those kinds of jeans cannot be removed from the wearer without assistance.

date rape drugsThe theme for the 2010 observance of Sexual Assault Awareness month is “Prevent sexual violence… on our campuses.” One of the issues that is causing concern on campuses is the issue of date rape, and it is a good a time as any to provide information on date rape drugs.

Rohypnol or Roofies

Slipping a “roofie” in someone’s drink is one of the things that date rape perpetrators use to drug their victims. Rohypnol is the brand name of the pill Flunitrazapam, is said to be ten times stronger than Valium and can be dissolved in water. The “high” that a roofie brings can last for up to eight hours, and the unknowing victims cannot remember anything that happens over that period of time.

Gamma-Hydroxy Butyrate or GHB

As in most abused prescription drugs, GHB finds legitimate use in Europe as a general anesthetic for such conditions as narcolepsy, alcohol withdrawal, insomnia and anxiety. It is, however, not yet approved in the United States, because of the severe effects that it can bring to a person, which includes loss of consciousness and dizziness.

April 24, 2010 at 4:12 am Comments (0)

Protect Yourself from Date Rape!

The convenience of the internet has its good and bad effects – and one marked downside would be its being used as an avenue for the abuse of drugs. These days, you can buy practically anything and everything online, and one of the drugs that are currently being abused is what is known as ‘date rape’ drugs.

flunitrazepamFor all intents and purposes, any substance that can render anyone unable to assert oneself may be used to commit acts that take advantage of the impaired person. This can include alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, and even over-the-counter sleeping pills. When we refer to date-rape drugs, however, these are mostly Benzodiazepines such as flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), Gamma-hydroxybuterates, and other drugs with similar effects.

Benzodiazepines are actually used to treat conditions such as anxiety, panic and insomnia. These drugs have powerful sedative properties that can impair motor control and movement. Aside from flunitrazepam, temazepam and midazolam are commonly used for date rape.

These substances are favored by miscreants since they are virtually untraceable, both by victims and investigators. They are odorless, colorless and tasteless, which is why victims do not know when their drinks have been laced. It is also difficult to catch because it can leave the body within 72 hours.

Authorities are now warning people to protect themselves against falling prey to date rape, especially women. Contrary to popular belief, date rape not only happens at clubs and bars but even at home. Date rape can be rather tricky because the instigator may actually be someone you know.

People are encouraged to have buddies when going to bars and clubs. Wherever you are, you should never accept drinks, whether alcoholic or not, from strangers. When you order drinks from the bar, keep an eye on the bartender and, if possible, take the drink directly from him or her. In parties, it is safer to drink beverages in sealed containers such as bottles, cans or tetra packs. Even at home, when alone with a new date or beau, never drink anything that you didn’t prepare yourself.

It may all be a bit too much, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

March 10, 2009 at 10:36 am Comment (1)

5 Ways to Keep Yourself Away from Date Rape Drugs

For people who are fond of partying out, this one is for you. To ensure that you do not fall prey to sexual predators, you must always be mindful of what you drink or eat when you’re out having fun.

A ‘date rape drug’ is any kind of drug that is added to foods or drinks at parties with the aim of knocking a person down so he or she can be taken without resistance. Pretty cruel, right? So how can you prevent yourself from being a victim?

wine1) Never go out alone. Always be in the company of trusted friends so that you can watch out for one another.

2) Never accept open drinks in a party, whether it’s alcoholic or not, especially from strangers. Avoid drinks which are in punch bowls, pitchers or tubs. Stick to drinks in unopened bottles or cans.

3) Get your drink straight from the bartender and never from a stranger. Also, hold your drink at all times since it would be easy for somebody to slip the drug into your drink if it’s unattended.

4) Be observant. If you feel that there’s something wrong or overheard someone talking about anything related to drugs, leave the place immediately. It is very important that you don’t drink too much and stay sober while partying so you can keep yourself safe all night long.

5) Finally, you may bring along a date rape drug test kit. It is a brand new defense against date rape drugs. It is simple to use – you just have to dip the testing strips or coasters into your drink and if they change color, then it was spiked with date rape drugs.

January 31, 2009 at 8:30 am Comments (5)