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High school girls invent straw that turns blue if your drink is spiked with a date rape drug

They submitted to the Miami Herald’s Business Plan Challenge and won first place, beating out 300 other entrants.

High school girls invent straw that turns blue if your drink is spiked with a date rape drug
Mixed race woman having a cocktail in the bar at night out. Bright light is coming from behind/Getty Images

Trigger warning: This story contains themes of rape and sexual assault that some readers may find distressing

Three high school students in Florida have invented straws that can help detect date rape drugs, and thus save young women from sexual assault and rape. Victoria Roca, Susana Cappello, and Carolina Baigorri knew date rape drugs were a serious issue and wanted to do something about it and that's when they came up with a straw to detect the drug. They came up with the idea during one of their entrepreneurship classes at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami. They are hoping the school project will help lower the rape statistics. The uniqueness of the "smart straw" is that it looks like any other straw. It can detect Rohypnol, GHB, and ketamine. 



 

 

“It’s a straw. It has two test strips so if you put it into a drink, it will determine whether it’s drugged or not. If it is drugged, the strip will turn to a navy color,” said Roca, reported InsideEdition.com. They had heard about date rape drugs in high school and they had heard far too many horror stories about it. “Being young women, I feel like this is a problem that we hear about a lot, especially when we came to high school. It’s such a common problem. Statistics say it’s one in every five women, which is so many people,” said Baigorri. The "smart straw" was submitted to the Miami Herald’s Business Plan Challenge and ended up beating 300 other entrants to win first place.

Closeup shot of a man drugging a woman's drink in a nightclub/Getty Images

 

The prototype straw detects the most common date rape drugs including flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), commonly known as roofies, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), referred to as liquid ecstasy, and ketamine, which is usually called Special K. Cappello was inspired after finding out that her older sister’s university had reports of date-rape drugs being used. They decided the straw should be able to detect all of them. “So, my friends and I knew we needed to come up with a simple solution to test for drugs,” said Cappello, reported A Plus. “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.” Cappello added that they may have to rename their product as "safety straws" after McDonald’s recently came out with its own “smart straw” for drinking shakes.



 

 

After they started researching for their project, the three students realized that date rape drugs were often used for trafficking as well. “With our research, we found out that a lot of (times) when drugs are put into drinks (women) don’t only get raped but they traffick" the women, said Roca. They have filed a patent for their design and are hoping to supply them to college students and at bars, clubs, and restaurants. The trio said they knew the straw wasn't a solution to stop rape but "were hoping to lower the amount of rape and dangerous situations you might be in through drugs.” They are hoping to raise money and market the product through a crowdfunding campaign.

Aperitif spritz drinks - stock photo/Getty Images

 

The key aim is to make young women, who are often targets of predators, feel safe. “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,” said Cappello. “Rapes assisted by drugs or alcohol are all too common. We just want to give any gender a simple tool to protect themselves,” Cappello told A Plus. “We would also like to lower the rapes that occur in general with the involvement of alcoholic or nonalcoholic drinks.”

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