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3 On Your Side: Detecting Date Rape Drugs

(credit: CBS) Erika von Tiehl
Erika von Tiehl is co-anchor of Eyewitness News This Morning on C...
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By Erika von Tiehl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a scary thought — Someone slips an illegal drug in your drink when you’re out at a bar.

It could be a stranger, it could be your date, but scientists have created a simple way for you to detect date rape drugs.

You’re out on a date, or you’re having a girlfriends’ night out. Everyone is partying and having a drink or two. But are you ever concerned that someone could slip something into your drink?

One woman told CBS3 that it is always something a single woman should worry about.

Another woman said, “When everyone is partying, it is really easy for something like that to happen.”

Something like that is a date rape drug. The most common is rohypnol, also known as roofies. It has no taste or odor. The victim is unconscious in about 15 minutes and remains unconscious for up to 24 hours. And because the victim blacks out, they can’t remember what happened.

“I went to the bar to get my first drink of the night and not long after that it started to feel much like my 15th drink,” said Michael Abramson.

Drinking a tainted cocktail is what inspired the Boston entrepreneur to create Drinksavvy cups, straws and stirrers. Sensing strips on the cups turn a purple color if a drug is added to the drink.

Scientists in Boston developed the technology that causes the color to change.

“The costs will be very competitive so there shouldn’t be any financial disincentive not to really swap out their entire plastic cups, strawers and glasses for Drinksavvy straws and glasses,” said Abramson.

Some bars will start testing Drinksavvy this fall and products are expected to be widely available early next year.

Testing strips on glassware is targeted for 2015.

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