DrinkSavvy cup changes colour when rape drugs are present

Nadine Kalinauskas
Shine On

You've heard it over and over again: never leave your drink unattended at a bar or club.

Start-up DrinkSavvy wants to take the paranoia out of your night out, ladies and gents.

The company is currently raising funds to help develop its disposable drinkware that changes appearance — from clear to striped red — when a beverage is spiked with three common rape drugs, including GHB, which is colourless, tasteless and odourless.

"We all know not to leave our drinks unattended, but the reality is it's impossible to keep an eye on your drink all night…[With DrinkSavvy] that means discrete, 100 percent effortless, and continuous drink monitoring throughout the night," says DrinkSavvy founder Mike Abramson.

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Abramson collaborated with John MacDonald, a chemistry professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to develop the drug-detecting material the plastic cups and straws will be made of.

So far, the company has raised over $19,000 of its $50,000 goal on IndieGogo.

"While DrinkSavvy's initial goal is to perfect our design to make our products available online and free to select rape crisis centers, DrinkSavvy's ultimate goal is to use the success of this campaign to convince bars, clubs, and colleges to make DrinkSavvy the new safety standard and eventually make drug-facilitated sexual assault a crime of the past," Abramson writes on IndieGoGo.

Abramson adds that the cups, straws and glasses will identify GHB, Ketamine, Rohypnol, the three most common "date rape" drugs. The company aims to update the drinkware over time as other drugs become more popular.

If this drug-detecting technology ends up in bars, can we leave our drinks unattended when we head to the restroom?

Not so fast, Abramson warns. He cautions that the preventative measure is for some added peace of mind and shouldn't be an excuse for carelessness.

"For example, just because you might have a home alarm system, this is not an excuse to leave you doors and windows unlocked and open. In the end, while our anti-drug rape products are meant to significantly reduce as much as possible the risk of being drug raped, it is still up to you to take the normal precautions," he writes.

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Jezebel's Laura Beck is concerned that drug-detecting cups are a BandAid solution and will only encourage more innovation in the rape-drug market.

Instead of detecting drugs, isn't there something we can do to curb this disturbing, violent trend altogether?

"I know, I know, our reality is such that drugs are slipped into drinks, and that's scary. It's just that it would be very sad if this turns into something where women are blamed for being raped because they didn't use the special glasses. Here's hoping 'She didn't use a color-changing straw' doesn't become the new 'Did you see how she was dressed?' argument," Beck writes.

Are you diligent about keeping a close watch on your drinks? Would a drug-detecting glass help put your mind at ease?