"Date rape" drugs have been around for at least a couple of decades, but new products in development may make it easier for people to protect themselves.
In the early to mid nineties, law enforcement began seeing an increase in reports of drugs such as Rohypnol/Flunitrazepam, typically called roofies, GHB and Ketamnine, also called Special "K", being used. These drugs, often called "date rape" drugs, were often slipped into someones drink without their knowledge. Victims begin to feel the effects of the drugs within a matter of a few minutes, eventually blacking out and becoming incapacitated.
According to CrimePreventionTips.org, these drugs, which are particularly popular on collage campuses, night clubs and bars, come in a small pill, liquid or powder form which dissolves quickly. This makes it easy to slip into a drink without the victim or bystanders noticing.
Women are normally the victims of date rape drugs, however men can also be victimized. One such man who was victimized was Mike Abramson. While attending a friend's birthday party at a bar in Boston, someone slipped one of the date rape drugs into his drink. After just a few sips, Abramson felt like he had drank several drinks instead of just a few sips of one drink. He blacked out and does not remember anything until the next day.
Although most people know not to drink anything that has left their sight, it is a hard rule to stick to at times. Abramson's experience convinced him that there was a need to develop a way to instantly detect the presence of a date rape drug in a drink without any real effort. That lead him to create DrinkSavvy products.
A DrinkSavvy cup
The DrinkSavvy product line will include straws, stirrers, cups, and glasses. The products are still in development, but the idea is to create products that will immediately change color if a date rape drug is placed in a drink. This allows potential victims to be alerted instantly.
Although there are date rape drug detection strips, a new strip would be required each time a drink was brought to you, or every time your drink left your sight. At a party or a night club where patrons are often leaving their drinks to go dance, using detection strips could become expensive. Likewise, in a crowded bar where people are bumping into each other often, a drug could be dropped into a drink even when the drink is in a person's hand.
Digital Journal spoke with detective with the Metro Nashville Police Department's Sexual Abuse Unit. After explaining the products to her, she liked the concept, saying:
"I don't see it happening, but I think the use of such products at any establishment serving alcohol should be legally required. I will certainly make sure that my daughter is aware of these products and I will personally buy them for her. I think all women should be encouraged to use these products when they come on the market. It can be a pain to carry your own cups or stir sticks, but it is certainly much better than waking up the next morning not knowing what has happened to you."
She also told Digital Journal that although there is much more awareness about the dangers of date rape drugs, the Sexual Abuse Unit still receives numerous cases yearly. She believes if businesses and individuals took it upon themselves to use these products, it could significantly reduce the number of date rape incidents.
Abramson is still raising money to produce the products. His goal is to provide the products for free to rape crisis centers. He will then work towards convincing bars, clubs, and colleges to make DrinkSavvy the new standard for safety. He hopes the products will be on the market and available to consumers by June 2013.