Students create date rape drug-detecting nail polish to help ward off potential sexual abusers.
A group of college students from North Carolina State University have come up with a nail polish that could help ward off potential sexual abusers. It changes color once it gets into contact with beverages containing drugs like Flunitrazepam and Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Both have sedating effects and are oftentimes notoriously labeled as “date rape” drugs.
The four students behind the “Undercover Colors” nail polish suggests ladies on this product to secretly dip a finger into drinks served them before taking a sip. It’s one way of checking if these drinks are laced with club drugs.
Once out in the market, the group hopes that the product sends a red signal among potential sexual abusers. They would think twice before spiking anyone’s drink because their would-be victims might be armed with the product. The group also claims to be the pioneers in the fashion industry to think of a product that may prevent such abuses on women.
Not so long ago, a similar product was created by Drinksafe Technologies. The firm used cardboard glass coasters to detect club drugs. In a similar fashion, the coasters will change colors once it gets into contact with club drugs mixed with a beverage. While both products deliver the same outcomes, some say using the nail polish has a bigger edge in that it can be used more discreetly.
A team of researchers studied the efficacy of the coasters. The product claims it can detect GHB mixed in a beverage and this was proven in the study. However, the researchers noticed that it takes considerable time for the coasters to change in color when exposed to GHB. They also observed that GHB detection is affected if the product is combined with milk and other highly acidic drinks.
The four founders of Undercover Color stumbled upon the idea while discussing real-world issues, one of the projects assigned to them as students of Materials Science and Engineering. According to Ankesh Madan who represents the group, all four of them have had encounters with people who have been victimized by such abuse and that they all agreed to concentrate their skills on helping women avoid getting victimized.
In terms of marketing, the four have not revealed anything significant about the product. While there is a product website, site information are limited to a simple logo and short appeal for R&D donations. It appears that they haven’t gone full blast in promoting the product.
Despite this, some consumers have expressed excitement over the product. One concerned citizen posted that she’s waiting for it to be out in the market and that she’s buying in bulk for her students. Another Facebook user lauded the product saying that it is going to be a cool, lifesaving weapon.
There is no doubt that the product may help in preventing people, women especially, from being drugged and then sexually assaulted however, for Melbourne Slutwalk co-founder Karen Pickering, a more effective prevention lies in knowing who to trust.