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Date Rape Detector Put To The Test
Date rape drugs are often slipped into women's drinks at bars, but a shield against those drugs might be right under the glass.
The Date Rape Detector is a drink coaster that claims to quickly test for two common date rape drugs. You dip your finger in your drink, rub a drop of the beverage on the test pads and then wait for the test pads to dry. If either spot turns a dark blue color it means your drink could be tainted.
"Obviously there's a big danger," said Sarah Toney, owner of Any Lab Test Now in north Austin.
"We were getting a lot of calls and it was very alarming," said Toney.
It was also surprising. Typically it's younger women who are getting urine and blood tests to see if their drinks were drugged. But, recently more women in their 30s and 40s are getting suspicious, and with good reason. I asked Sarah how many women tested positive over the winter holidays.
"About 60 percent, so most of the women who thought they were drugged, they were," said Toney.
The Just Yell Fire video is designed to help women of all ages learn how to better protect themselves from date rape. The nonprofit group wants women and men to add this weapon to their self-defense arsenal.
The $1 coaster claims it can test your drink for two hidden drugs. Put a drop on the test pads and the manufacturer says the spots will turn a darker blue if your drink has been tainted with, GHB or Ketamine.
Dr. Ernest Lykissa is an expert with 30 years of experience in forensic toxicology.
"It's supposed to get dark blue. I'm waiting," said Dr. Lykissa.
We went to his Houston lab, ExperTox, to put the coasters to the test.
"I was expecting to see a darker color, blue color," said Dr. Lykissa.
Based on these results, he thinks the color change isn't dramatic enough.
"You would have a hard time deciphering is this really a drug or is it not," said Dr. Lykissa.
He thinks it might be especially difficult in a dark bar. Another potential problem, the coaster tests for two of the three most common date rape drugs but, the rapists’ arsenal is growing.
"A lot of the drugs we see are actually over the counter drugs," said Dr. Lykissa.
He says readily available cold remedies and sleep aides are being mixed into drinks more often than the so-called date rape drugs.
"It can actually knock somebody out to a dangerous level needing hospitalization sometimes," said Dr. Lykissa.
If you decide to slip a coaster under your drink, know that it's not foolproof. Your best defense is to never let your drink out of your sight.
The manufacturer of the drug detecting coasters told KEYE TV that, "any shade of blue is reason for caution." Lance Norris with Drink Safe Technologies says, "The coasters are an awareness product." He added that they don't replace common sense or the need to always keep an eye on your drink.
By Bettie Cross