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Scientists develop straw that detects date rape drugs

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Esther Williams

Israeli scientists have developed a new device that looks like a stirrer or swizzle stick, but can actually detect date rape drugs that might have been put into your drink. The device, which goes on sale this month, is able to pick up on traces of GHB and ketamine, two of the most commonplace date rape drugs.

"It samples a very small volume of the drink and mixes it with a testing solution," explained one of the device's creators. "That causes a chemical reaction that makes the solution cloudy or colored, depending on the drug," and which point a red light comes on alerting the user that their drink has been spiked.

The device will be both cheap and re-usable, and thus easily available to almost all potential users. This could be a major development in sexual assault prevention, though in practice I'm skeptical about the logistics of remembering to put the same straw in every drink you have over the course of a night.