These Three Teens Have Created a Straw That Detects Date Rape Drugs

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"The best ideas are the ideas that help people."

A cocktail sitting on a stool

While firm statistics on the prevalence of drink spiking in Australia remain elusive thanks to lack of forensic evidence, it’s certainly an issue that can’t be ignored.

In the US particularly, studies suggest one in five women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, and 4.2 per cent of those victims will receive date rape drugs.

Gulliver Preparatory High School students Carolina Baigorri, Susana Cappello and Victoria Roca decided to do something about it. The girls rightfully took out the top spot in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge with their invention of Smart Straws, despite previously losing out at their school’s business plan competition.

“We were really passionate about this, so we kept on pursuing it,” explains Susana. “Our goal is to reduce the [date rape] statistics.”

The girls’ straw, which turns blue in the presence of overwhelmingly popular – according to American case studies – date rape drugs Rohypnol, Ketamine and GHB.

During research at Northwestern University for their high school project, the girls discovered that half of the respondents they interviewed knew someone who had been drugged while socialising.

The girls are planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the product and also secure a patent, with a view to making their straws recyclable, and also readily available in colleges, clubs and bars.

“My friends and I knew we needed to come up with a simple solution to test for drugs,” Susana says. “I remember my dad always says, ‘the best ideas are the ideas that help people,’ so we just thought of a simple, easy, inexpensive solution – Smart Straws.”

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