A Date-Rape Drug Test?

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A tray of blue drinks at a bar

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 out of every 6 American women, and 1 in 33 American men, have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetimes. This amounts to about 17.7 million women and 2.78 million men in the U.S.

In addition:

  • About 75% of all rapes are date or acquaintance rapes
  • About 25% of women report that drugs were a factor in a rape
  • Some of the drugs used to facilitate sexual assault or rape can be fatal when mixed with alcohol
  • “Date-rape” drugs are also commonly used recreationally, putting the user at risk of sexual assault
  • Date rape drugs include GHB, alcohol, benzodiazepines and zolpidem

But now, researchers may have discovered a way to detect one of the more commonly-used date-rape drugs, GHB, in drinks.

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) is colorless and odorless central nervous system depressant, which incapacitates victims and makes them vulnerable to sexual assault.

Experts from the National University of Singapore have created a fluorescent compound called GHB Orange, that, when mixed with a sample of a drink containing GHB, changes the color of the drink within 30 seconds.

The team tested the ability of GHB Orange to detect GHB in different types of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and found that it was effective, though additional lighting was needed to detect the change in darker drinks such as cola and whiskey.

The research study was recently published in the journal Chemical Communications., the researchers said.

 

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