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Can Savvy Cups Catch Rape Drugs?

A new product is intended to alert drinkers if they've been slipped a "roofie."

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A "savvy" way to stop predators? Photo via

By Sarah Beller

12/10/12

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A start-up called DrinkSavvy is currently seeking funds to create a line of cups that can detect date rape drugs. Since the drugs tend to be odorless, colorless and tasteless when added to a drink, they’re nearly impossible to catch. But DrinkSavvy's cups are designed to change from clear to red stripes when they detect the presence of predator drugs, alerting the drinker and those around her or him to the possibility of danger. In the US alone, a woman is sexually assaulted every two minutes, according to the US Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey. DrinkSavvy founder Mike Abramson, who has been personally impacted by sexual assault, believes that his new product could help reduce incidents of date rape. "Within the past three years, three of my very close friends—and myself—have been the unwitting victims of being drugged," says Abramson in a promo video for his product. "And I want to prevent it from happening to anyone else.” Long term, DrinkSavvy hopes to convince bars, clubs, and other establishments to use their products in order to protect their customers. They also hope to expand into creating other products like straws and drink stirrers with similar drug-monitoring capabilities. But while Abramson believes these “smart” cups may have what it takes to combat sexual predators, some worry they are just the next wave of “band-aid” solutions—like the swizzle-stick detectors that came out last year. Jezebel's Laura Beck worries that the new drinkware may not "test for all of the common predator drugs—from GHB to Rohypnol" and that "creepy kitchen chemists will evolve to create new drugs that can’t be detected by this technology.”

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