Florida High School Girls Design Date Rape Drug-Detecting Straw

Florida High School Girls Design Date Rape Drug-Detecting Straw

By Bryan Le 05/30/17

Their patent-pending design could soon help thousands of women subtly test for date rape drugs in their drinks.

Image: 
Woman drinking cocktail drink from straw.

Three high school girls have created a special straw that prevents sexual assault by detecting date rape drugs in any drink it’s been dropped in.

Victoria Roca, Susana Cappello, and Carolina Baigorri—all students from Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Florida—made the straw as their entry for the Business Plan Challenge High School Track competition.

The straw can detect a wide range of the most common date rape drugs, including Rohypnol, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine. The subtle design allows users to drop the straw into their own drink unnoticed—it will turn blue if any of the testable drugs are present, and remain discreet if the drink is clean.

“Being young women, I feel like this is a problem that we hear about a lot, especially when we came to high school,” Baigorri told Inside Edition. “We know it’s not a solution because it can’t end rape, but we were hoping to lower the amount of rape and dangerous situations you might be in through drugs.”

A Washington Post study found that around 9% of women who were sexually assaulted believe they were dosed with a date rape drug prior to being assaulted.

“Our impact is just to help people feel safe in their surroundings and be aware of what’s going on, and just to make sure that where they are and what they are drinking is safe,” says Cappello.

The straw was a hit at the competition, winning the judges’ admiration for its simplicity and how easily it could be distributed to college campuses and transported in purses. Their invention is patent pending and the girls are in talks with a test-kit maker about manufacturing the straw.

Other enterprising minds have dreamed up a color-changing nail polish that takes a dip of the finger to test for date rape drugs. A swizzle stick tester has been made as well. But neither are available on the market at the moment.

The straw and its counterparts are necessary for women to defend themselves against sexual assault until the stigma and victim-blaming around these crimes weaken.

As recently as March this year, a judge in Canada ruled that a blackout drunk woman could have provided verbal consent to her taxi driver before she passed out—despite having no memory whatsoever of the event. Fortunately, there are forces who would disagree with the Canadian judge, including former Vice President Joe Biden who told college men that at no point can a drunk woman consent.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter

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